Air

In essence, the Plan Jericho vision is to develop a future force that is agile and adaptive, fully immersed in the information age and truly joint

With the first Australian F-35As due to arrive in December 2018, work is continuing apace to prepare facilities and systems for the fifth generation fighters. ADM spoke with some key people, including JSF Division head AVM Leigh Gordon, for an update on progress.

From the time of their arrival in the Middle East in late September 2014 to the end of December 2016, the eight aircraft attached to the Australian Air Task Group (ATG) in the Middle East flew some 3,200 combat missions totalling more than 26,000 flight hours

With small, commercially available drones or UASs (unmanned aerial systems – ADM’s preferred term) featuring high up on the Christmas wish lists last year, it's no wonder that the threat posed by them to security and safety is being taken seriously, with two counter-UAS security companies listing on the ASX in just the past year.

What does Integrated Air Missile Defence (IAMD) look like for the RAAF, indeed, what's the next step of Integrated Missile Defence (IMD) for the wider ADF?

One of the next major aircraft acquisition programs to be undertaken by Defence is not listed in the public version of the White Paper or Integrated Investment Plan. The RAAF fleet of Special Purpose Aircraft (SPA) is based in Canberra and due for replacement over the next two years or so.

The numerous major Defence acquisition projects currently underway in the Air domain are by and large on track to deliver capability against present schedules.

A breakthrough in artificial intelligence is set to revolutionise aerial combat, specifically the mix of fifth generation fighters and long distance missiles which characterises modern day air warfare.

Often described as the ADF’s largest airpower exercise, the biennial Pitch Black exercise was again held in the Top End in July and August.

Over the next decade the ADF and intelligence community will benefit from an exponential increase in the volume and quality of regional ISREW information.

One of the capabilities foreshadowed by the recent Defence White Paper and associated Integrated Investment Program is the acquisition of an armed Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAS.

It was the contract that never seemed to end but the Commonwealth and Team 21, a joint effort of Lockheed Martin, Pilatus and Hawker Pacific, have finally signed Air 5428.

The RAAF’s Air Mobility Group has enjoyed a busy 12 months, in which it has continued to enable and support operations in the Middle East, introduce new aircraft and roll-out an ongoing series of upgrades aimed at maximising existing capability.

Should Canada withdraw from the nine-nation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program, the additional cost to Australia of its JSF purchases will be about $USD1 million per airframe, according to Air Vice Marshal Chris Deeble.

Most stories about Air Force capability tend to focus on either the platforms themselves, or in the case of the combat elements, the weapons they employ, but underpinning all of this capability is the engineering and maintenance system.