Author Topic: M.A.D's 'Alternative Australian Defence Force Order of Battle' Questions please  (Read 42530 times)

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
When bought, the CP-140 was meant to be superior to the P-3C. Then time passes and the Aurora Incremental Modernization Project became necessary (IIRC, AIMP is now entering its fourth decade). Meanwhile, almost everyone who bought bog-standard P-3Cs has just nipped down to their local 'Orion Upgrade Store' and bought off the peg  ;)
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Offline ScranJ51

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I'm not in a position to be certain, but I think the upgrade RAAF P-3C's underwent made them a very potent machine.


Used a lot in overland sorties providing intel to "certain" people on the ground in real time, including I believe video.

GTX may know more
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Offline GTX_Admin

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It's not a simple either or question.  If you take the RAAF as your focus point (given this thread) you have to consider that the RAAF first acquired Orions (P-3Bs) in 1968 whereas the first CP-140 didn't fly until 1979.  Therefore, for the RAAF, it made more sense to stick with the P-3 when they acquired the P-3Cs in 1978/79 rather than go for the CP-140.  There is also the commonality with the USN factor and the ability to benefit from common support bases and technology developments. 

As to upgrades for the RAAF birds, they underwent two major updates during their life (and I was there whilst these were occurring and SWMBO was directly involved as well):

  • AIR 5140:  This essentially involved the fitment of the AN/ALR2001 Electronic Support Measures (ESM) equipment
  • AIR 5276:  This was a much bigger program aimed at upgrading the aircraft's combat systems in multiple ways including fitting each aircraft with a new Elta EL/M-2022(V)3 radar, a nose-mounted Star Safire III electro-optical and infrared system, "highly capable" signals and electronic intelligence (SIGINT/ELINT) equipment, the UYS 503 acoustic system, a new automatic information system processor, a new navigation system, a new communications system and other improvements. The Orions' weight was also reduced by more than 3,000 kilograms (6,600 lb) as part of the upgrade. It also resulted in the Orions being redesigned as AP-3Cs

See more here:  http://p-3publications.com/PDF/AirborneLog-Fall93.pdf
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Offline Logan Hartke

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I'm no expert, but given the RAAF's threat environment, I'd say no.

You have to remember that during basically the entire Cold War, most of the Canadian Armed Force (RCN and RCAF, specifically) were geared towards countering the Soviet Navy attempts to disrupt NATO lines of communication across the Atlantic. Basically think Battle of the Atlantic 2: Redux, but replace "Dönitz" with "Gorshkov". This was fine with Canada. It made the most sense with their geography, immediate threats, and expertise post-WWII. They adopted the Sea King helicopter in 1963 (!), years before the UK and over a decade before Australia. They pioneered the very concept of ASW helicopter frigates, a couple of decades before the US finally gave up on DASH and got its act together. And, they independently developed the world's best ASW aircraft until the Orion came along, the CP-107 Argus. Why does all this matter? Well, when you consider Canada's focus on ASW, a 3% improvement in speed is well worth it when it comes to overall performance. The RCN and RCAF were expecting to encounter the best the Red Banner Northern Fleet could throw at them from Day 1 of any conflict.



By contrast, the RAAF, while a very professional organization, was never expected to serve the same role in the Pacific, a much lower threat environment, by comparison. The Soviet Pacific Fleet had about half the complement of ships that the Northern Fleet had for much of the Cold War, and these were often a bit older and less advanced on average. Likewise, the US Navy was far larger, more capable, and forward deployed compared to the Australian Navy in the Pacific, and the Pacific Fleet would have to get through the USN and JMSDF before Australia would have to handle them anyway. Japan's Orion fleet alone was more than five times as large as Australia's. During the 1980s, it's an open question whose side China would even have been on—if any—so it's no guarantee that their Romeos would have played a part in a hypothetical conflict.

I think an exciting ASW day for the RAAF in a live conflict might be picking up an Indonesian Whiskey. That's basically a warmed over Type XXI being operated by effectively a first time submarine operator that hasn't had user support for a couple of decades.



So, it may help, but I don't suspect it'll be worth losing the USN (and potentially JMSDF) Orion fleet commonality given Australia's likely threat environment.

Cheers,

Logan

Offline GTX_Admin

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One has to remember that the RAAF's use of the Orion was more on the Maritime Patrol role than the Anti-Submarine role (even though the latter was one of the roles they were capable of).
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Offline Logan Hartke

  • High priest in the black arts of profiling...
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Exactly. It was a good fit, no question there. I just don't think you'd need the extra 10% for a bit snappier ASW suite. And things post Cold War eventually got a bit more interesting in the region for Australia regarding ASW, but as other posters have pointed out, it's nicer to be in the stream for USN upgrades than out in the cold and paying out of your own pocket.

Offline Volkodav

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And according to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet science advisor in the late 70s early 80s, ten P-3Cs are more valuable and capable the RANs entire Sea King fleet, the Wessex, the carrier replacement, and escort fleet.

Offline GTX_Admin

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And according to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet science advisor in the late 70s early 80s, ten P-3Cs are more valuable and capable the RANs entire Sea King fleet, the Wessex, the carrier replacement, and escort fleet.

Well that's obvious...says former P-3 Orion boy. ;)
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Offline M.A.D

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Thanks gents for your views and insight, defiantly some interesting and valid points to consider.
My notion in my Alternative ADF ORBAT is that as a nation, Australia seriously undertakes 'joint programs' to share, offset and mitigate cost and risk in developing given weapons/weapons platforms with allies and like-minded nations. The Canadian/Lockheed CP-140 being one consideration in place of the Lockheed P-3C.

MAD

Offline Volkodav

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And according to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet science advisor in the late 70s early 80s, ten P-3Cs are more valuable and capable the RANs entire Sea King fleet, the Wessex, the carrier replacement, and escort fleet.

Well that's obvious...says former P-3 Orion boy. ;)

Yeah, fit them with Sidewinders they could have replaced the Mirage and we wouldn't have had to waste money on the F/A-18.  ;D

Offline Volkodav

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I've long been a fan of the idea that GAF builds Shackletons following on from the Lincoln, probably instead of the GR/ASW conversion of some of the Lincolns, skipping Neptune and Orion, before going Nimrod  ;).

Offline GTX_Admin

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Yeah, fit them with Sidewinders they could have replaced the Mirage and we wouldn't have had to waste money on the F/A-18.  ;D

Ok.



I have heard a story of a RAAF F/A-18 getting shot down on exercise because he tried to take on an Orion.
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