Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Singapore to acquire F-35B's!?!

I caught this on AOL Defense...

Thirdly, the F-35 is a significant ISR asset. The Aussies can build ISR collection facilities, which can leverage the entire allied FLEET of F-35s operating in a regional security setting. They can use such facilities to shape an approach to link other allied ISR assets to establish a "honeycomb" network or grid along the Pacific Rim.

Singapore intends to acquire the VSTOL F-35Bs and perhaps put them aboard ships as well, and South Korea might well do the same. By working with Singapore and South Korea, and the Navy/Marine Amphibious Ready Groups, Australia could work on how best to do airfield protection using joint assets such as Aegis and F-35Bs on land in bunkered and EMP shielded revetments in case of severe runway damage.

Such an Australian hub could be a key element in shaping a new Pacific strategy. For the U.S. and its allies crafting a scalable force, one which can leverage one another's assets across the vast expanses of the Pacific, is crucial. Since no platform fights alone, an allied FLEET of F-35s is a key lynchpin for shaping such a scalable force.
And by shaping a mix of hubs and bases, a honeycomb of force capability could be built for US and allied forces. Diversifying the location of hubs, facilities and bases is crucial not only for the US but its allies and partners. Looking at how to leverage new systems to enhance diversification is a key opportunity to deal with the multiplicity of threats in the Pacific and reduce the capability of an aggressor to concentrate force.

Let me say that again...Wow!

I always thought it but never heard a news organization say it out loud...Singapore intends to acquire the F-35B and S. Korea might do the same....

Something tells me that the USMC won't be buying that full allotment of F-35C's after all!  But perhaps the most interesting part of the story is the part which talks about using the F-35 as the link in an ISR net stretching across the Pacific.

This has been a fantastic couple of weeks for the F-35 and this just adds to the good news...


While ARG deployments in the Pacific are old hat for the Navy and Marine Corps, it is becoming increasingly rare to see an ARG deployed from either coast to spend any significant amount of time anywhere other than operating under CENTCOM command in the 5th fleet. I have heard many suggestions that the Makin Island ARG has been working overtime during deployment preparations training for activities specific to activities one might find around Somalia and Yemen - like piracy. If I was a pirate warlord, my advice is to take the best deal you can for ransom as soon as possible, and start looking for a new job with less associated risk.
Ok, that makes sense.  Remember all the pics that I've been posting of Marines training to board, visit and inspect ships at sea?  Now It all comes together.  I think he's spot on with the 11th MEU about to get busy against pirates.  But check out this part...
If you recall, as a response to unfolding events in Libya, the Bataan ARG deployed a few weeks early on March 23, 2011 - 207 days ago (nearly 8 months ago). Lets just say she isn't coming home for Christmas, and if she isn't home by Valentines Day (a legitimate possibility) - the ships will break all records for deployment length since World War II.

Tipping Point much?
I've said it before and I'll say it again.  Amphibs are the most important, viable and needed ships in the Navy.  And according to Galrahn, we need more!

Why the F-35 can't be killed...

What is ultimately going to protect the F-35 from cancellation?  The foreign air forces that have invested in it thats what!  Imagine the penalties, hard feelings and distrust that would bloom from a cancellation of a program that is employing high tech people in several countries--a program that seeks to provide the backbone of future forces for several decades if not longer!  But this story from Defense News seals the deal and should make every critics blood turn cold.
Canada's defense minister said it was premature to signal the end of the F-35 fighter jet that is to become the backbone of its air force, after his U.S. counterpart said the program may have to be axed.
"This sort of apocryphal language that the Joint Strike Fighter program is coming to an end and that countries are pulling back is not correct. It's premature to make those kinds of judgments," Defense Minister Peter MacKay said Nov. 16.

"A lot of this, clearly, is brought about by budgetary pressures, and Canada, like every country, is concerned about delays in delivery and discussions around the cost."
MacKay said Canada is in discussions with the manufacturer Lockheed Martin as well as other countries that committed to buying the next-generation fighters.
"Let's not get ahead of ourselves," he told reporters.
Sorry haters.  The dream of cancelling the F-35 is just that...a dream...

The Future of Short Take-Off Vertical Landing Aircraft