The Pickering Post
Monday, 22nd October 2018

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Larry Pickering

Four-time Walkley Award winning political commentator and Churchill Fellow, has returned to the fray over concern that the integrity of news dissemination is continually being threatened by a partisan media.


Australian Air Force commanders have long opposed the acquisition of UAVs, explaining, “...they will put top gun pilots out of a job and threaten RAAF culture.” Hmmm, “culture” being the operative word meaning, at least to me, testosterone does play a part in these lethal boys’ toys.

In 1996 PM John Howard ordered Lockheed Martin's Joint Strike F-35 Fighter without a tender process. These jet aircraft will cost US taxpayers $396 billion, yep billion. And that's if the Pentagon actually builds a projected 2,443 F-35s by the late 2030s.

It won't build that many of course, as international orders have halved due to its protracted problems thereby more than doubling the unit price of each aircraft to Australia.

The unit cost to us has risen from John Howard’s $70 million to Tony Abbott’s $180 million and still soaring in what promises to be the biggest financial procurement in Defence history. 

But there is no doubt this fighter aircraft is the most sophisticated yet devised, even if it still remains partly on the drawing board.

Gillard’s Defence Minister at the time, Stephen Smith, deferred the order for the further 58 F-35s (Julia didn’t fancy Defence spending, much more yummy things to buy) but that decision is now costing taxpayers many billions more. 

We are currently spending a tidy $6 billion on Hornets and Growlers to fill the gap where we thought the F-35 would be.

Australia intends to eventually have 100 of these aircraft. Blimey!

Their real value to the US will be rapid deployment to anywhere in the world via a dozen aircraft carriers. Unfortunately we don’t have any aircraft carriers. 

Defence Writer David Pugliese, said, “The Super Hornet can do anything the F-35 can and is better suited to operate from forward operating bases with no requirement to add a drag chute or air refuelling system”. 

(I'm no defence expert but I'm not sure he is correct there, particularly if its endless problems can be surmounted. This aircraft is potentially light years ahead of anything else that remotely approaches it.)

At Mach 3 the technology-plagued F-35 will be able to get to any part of Asia in no time but without mid-air refuelling or a carrier base its endurance is limited from Tindal or any other Australian base.

But you have to wonder whether a price-tag that would embarrass even Julia is actually Defence Force testosterone-driven or a critical Defence need. 

I mean a UAV can take out any installation in the world from a Washington armchair, without a pilot. And the inexpensive UAV will self-destruct if fatally hit, depriving the enemy of the technology.

Australia has already ordered $3 billion worth of Northrop Grumman UAVs to patrol our northern borders. This one (pictured) has a vast wingspan of 39.8 metres, can operate at 65,000 feet and stay airborne for 35 hours with a non-stop endurance range of 16,000 kilometres. 

That eclipses any manned aircraft and it can be reconfigured to carry any type of missile. We can only muse at the development of UAVs by 2030.

The F-35 will make a hole in any smuggling boat, if not in Joe Hockey’s forward estimates, but exhilarating dogfights between Super Hornets and F-35s over Sydney Harbour will certainly draw paying crowds. Now all we need is a decent enemy and it’ll all be worth it. 

Sometimes supporting close allies can be a costly exercise.


9/11 was an Inside Job!
9/11 was an Inside Job!
9/11 was an Inside Job!

Aussie already has WMD's This is a hoot:
An ultimatum to the Russian President from the people of Australia.

Vladimir Putin, we believe your aggressive action in the Crimea to be immoral, illegal and an unjustified assault on the Sovereignty of an independent neighbouring State.

To show you how serious we are, we have deployed Kevin Rudd to dissuade you from your wicked course of interfering in your neighbouring country’s politics.

If you do not withdraw your forces to your boundaries within 24 hours we will be left with no choice but to deploy Julia Gillard to Russia. We will escalate this every 24 hours you remain in breach, by deploying other weapons of mass destruction, such as Wayne Swan, Stephen Conroy, Bill Shorten, Penny Wong, Tanya Plibersek, Christine Milne, Sarah Sharia-Young and Craig Thompson.

This deployment has been organised by our legal representatives, Slater and Gordon.

These weapons of mass destruction have caused enormous damage in Australia but imagine what they'll do when they hit'll wish Hitler had won!

Remember these things are controlled by satellites

UAVs looks like the way of the future

(If we have a FUTURE.....)

DJT: While I believe in the concept of the F35 unfortunately I am pessimistic enough to believe a more imminent threat to our security will come from within.

A 500 round "brick" of .22LR ammunition costs around $40.00. Bearing in mind that a well aimed .22LR is superior to a poorly aimed 9mm (the favoured handgun of our ME friends) it will be the best bang for a buck for us, the common folk, who will eventually have to defend this country.

IF 'any expansionist 'enemy' wanted to 'take and own' Oz ?? I reckon we would be a very soft target and have no real BIG BROTHER power to help us. Even the 2,500 US marines in the NT would not deter them!! That 'placement' is a joke!!! China is NOT a threat as they want own us by buying us up for less than a war would cost. The enemy to destroy Oz is within.

F 35 s to defend Oz from an attack by ??????? Indonesia???? Waste of time and f....g good tax payers money. Indonesia would not have to revert to old fashioned warfare. They have the 'fifth column movement' well in place with all their now resident sympathisers' and of course the ' special recruits' sent here on the refugee boats.

The F35 will be an Albatross round Aussie necks and TA will live to b embarrassed by this action and regret it. F F S !! Even in the Malaysian missing jet episode we have been told that there are various current advanced technologies operational capabilities that 'allow' a third party to 'monitor? take control? to detonate ? an aircraft in flight ? The F 35 will be susceptible to all these 'enemy tactics' even if they are made in USA and NOT China etc? Any Enemy seriously wanting to 'go to war' with Oz ( or the USA?!) will have every ship, sub, aircraft location 'spotted' and very likely be able to destroy them before they took off or left the seaport on any counter attack mission.

Any next war will not be fought with the 'old fashioned' weaponry. The F35 will be obsolete before they get full completed and certified. ( Like the NBN!?m ) They are still a 'concept'. This is sucking up to the USA !! WHAT FOR??

Can you imagine what a whole fleet of these missile armed drones could do based in the north of the country

I might ad that diesel is an emergency alternative to Jet A. I have seen Kiowas run on diesel. Engines need more maintenance but it works fine

Its been good watching your comments DJT...we're on the same page regarding this issue and I'm impressed with your knowledge on the subject. Well done and thanks.

PS Bots....your knucklehead comment is a silly throwaway comment made by many jealous RPT pilots. I have seen both sides and believe me I have seen more than my fair share of airline flight crew incompetence.

Hey Bots....if we had used your logic that Aust doesn't have the technology and facilities to handle this stuff back when the F111's were on order then we wouldn't have ended up with was the best aircraft of its type in the world. I'm still in aviation afer 47 years beginning in the RAAF (F4E's and F111's). The funny-leven served us well.

like a few ICBMs

9g's in PC9 - not a bad effort. But when it comes to towel heads and shoulder mounted rockets, nothing's safe - including themselves. The problem I see with the UAV's is that we just don't seem to want to buy anything capable of flying combat missions. If we did, there'd be a massive pissing contest between Arty and Air Force as to who should fly them. Then again, most of the modern world's armies are mechanised, yet ours still trains as if Infantry dictates the battle space (no offence intended). As for the technology and facilities issue - if we can't handle the F-35, I doubt we're up to developing a combat drone in-house, like the Avenger . And then there's issue of letting the 17-19 year old experienced and decorated x-box veterans play with such multi-million dollar toys...

Personally I like either the Dassault Rafale or the Saab Gripen, I feel they both offer better value for money than the F35 and at a much reduced opperating cost thereby allowing more time for flying and not on the ground being serviced. A $190 million plane falls out of the air just as fast as a much cheaper one if they are both hit by a missile. Technological superiority doesn't count for much when low cost bullet can render your aircraft absolutely useless with one hit, given the complexitiy of the F35 I don't believe it can take much punishment. Canada is apparently considering the Saab Gripen and here is a blog that compares several contenders, makes for a good read.

The plane is in service with 10000 hours plus flying time.

DJT & Twodogs I bow to your wisdom, I had no idea there was a STOVL version of the F-35

At some point the remainng anglos in Australia will take exception to what Pauline so eloquently stated 'We are being swamped by Asians' At this point we may attempt to stop the flood. Our Asian neighbours will probably declare war at this point. The more military we have the better.