2015 Defence White Paper Submission  

Force Structure, Posture and Equipment Necessary to Defend the Australian Mainland

Executive Summary

This White Paper submission will provide an overview for an expanded Australian Defence Force in response to a projected threat of invasion.

The future threat is posed by the Armed Forces of Indonesia where that country has taken on an expansionist foreign policy in the aftermath of a disastrous US economic collapse.

In such a scenario, where the US military is forced to withdraw from the Asia-Pacific region, the Defence of the Australian mainland will be left solely in our own hands.

The subsequent changes to the ADF - necessary to combat a large military force able to land personnel and materiel onto the Australian continent - becomes self evident.

Key recommendations made by this submission are:

1. The strengthening and expansion of the Air Force centred around an Air Superiority Fighter.

2. A significant expansion and hardening of the Army with two extra brigades, more attack helicopters and armed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

3. A moderate expansion of the Navy, particularly in submarines, plus the introduction of land attack cruise missiles, and a heightened focus on helicopter/UAV equipped surface vessels.

4. The operation of all services under an 'Air and Sensor Umbrella'.

There are 3 main sections to this report:
(A) Broad Structure and Working Assumptions
(B) Warfighting Structure and Materiel by Service
(C) Defence Procurement Strategies, plus an Appendix.

Some discussion will be provided on the Australian economy in relation to defence funding along with related societal and strategic considerations.

Simply put, this paper endeavours to address the ADF as a wholistic fighting entity focusing on the necessary equipment and personnel required to successfully undertake the self defence mission. This submission does not cover aspects of intelligence gathering, Special Forces, or specifics relating to sensor technology/programs. The paper will make its argument using straightforward terminology that is understandable to anyone.

SECTION A: Broad Structure and Working Assumptions

Working Assumptions:

The ADF structure outlined here is designed to increase Australian warfighting capability in order to defend the mainland against a large Indonesian military force of 2020 to 2030. This is the primary purpose of our defence forces - to protect the Australian mainland.

The following recommendations should be seen as contingency planning in the event of an aggressive, expansionist Islamist, or Nationalist, regime coming to power in Jakarta - where direct military, intelligence or logistical support from the United States is unavailable. [See the Appendix for more information on the projected threat].

Considering this circumstance, it is essential that preparations to improve our force structure begin immediately - because of the lead time needed to address current deficiencies that include the ADF's significant numerical disadvantage.

This submission assumes the opposing force is well provisioned having transformed itself to field advanced air force equipment, significant sealift capacity (including civilian seacat vessels), airlift capacity, plus radicalised elements prepared to engage in one way (suicide) special operations against rear area targets - including airfields, naval bases, logistical centres, power stations and dams. These irregular units would also engage in mass-casualty civilian killing operations using armed squads in urban areas with a bushfire lighting strategy in the summer.

Once the potential threat is imagined the necessary ADF capabilities become readily apparent in terms of equipment, preparedness and expanded personnel numbers. The ADF must, without question, maintain various elements on an alert, go-to-war footing, with significant improvements in base protection and/or asset survivability in the expectation of missile strikes and armed raids occurring in the opening stages of a confrontation.

Ties to regional allies, such as Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, the French Navy, and also the Royal Navy, should be strengthened. Reliance on the US in terms of defence must not be assumed. The level of interoperability and technology sharing with these other allies should be increased.

Key ADF Elements:

Listed below are the basic defence priorities needed to fulfil the Primary Mission Goal of the ADF, which is to Defend the Australian Mainland. [This White Paper submission does not address the first element listed here nor provide specific details on the second]:

1. Intelligence Gathering - which includes military and civilian organisations focusing on human, signals, satellite, and analysis of opposing force capabilities that assume the worst. Included here would be (military) counter-intelligence programs.

2. Sensor Capabilities - these include long range air (E-7A) and surface (JORN) based radar systems; fixed undersea (SOSUS) systems; submarine sonar sensing; satellite surveillance; maritime patrol aircraft; tactical and strategic UAVs; plus visual aids for all Air Force, Army and Navy platforms featuring infra-red (IR) and low-light high-magnification scopes - with similar IR and low light aids for individual soldiers. Included here would be essential Electronic Warfare (EW) capabilities that must be strengthened in all services to improve the ability to jam or deceive enemy detection and communications systems.

3. Air Superiority Fighters - are of PRIMARY importance in controlling the battlespace over Australian Territories. They allow for tactical air power to destroy (larger) opposing forces. Providing an Air Umbrella facilitates the use of dual purpose ground attack-training aircraft, armed UAVs, and attack helicopters on operations. Air superiority fighters will also engage in long range strike missions unless a suitable modern equivalent of the F-111 can be acquired.

4. Expanded Army - to include two additional 1st Division brigades and significantly strengthened reserve forces equipped with heavy direct and indirect fire weapons, such as vehicle and man portable anti-tank and thermobaric missiles, plus artillery. Mobile air defence systems will also be improved. Planning for raising a large irregular civilian fighting force, based on an expanded Cadets program, should be undertaken.

5. Expanded Submarine Force and Navy - at least twelve Soryu, or HDW 216 type (future), submarines will operate as the primary sea-control and strike weapons system. The retention of existing numbers of destroyers and frigates is in order with the introduction of at least 20 armed versions of the L'Adroit Class Offshore Patrol Vessel (or proxy), able to exploit armed helicopters and/or UAVs, to replace the Armidale Class patrol boats.

Secondary Roles for the ADF:

The secondary roles for the ADF, outside of mainland defence, are to;

1. Engage in unilateral, or bilateral, low intensity conflicts throughout the region using sea-lift and air-lift transport capacities to move equipment and personnel - where the danger from sea and air threats is very low.

2. Participate in high intensity large scale multi-national operations anywhere around the globe, with an emphasis on air combat and special operations.

3. Provide Humanitarian Assistance (a morale booster) to crisis struck Australian civilians, whether on the mainland or in outlying territories, and to provide assistance to the civilian populations of our near neighbours in times of need - so genuine goodwill can be built between countries.

Economic and Societal Considerations:

The Economic Foundation, which facilitates the funding of military operations, must not be divorced from defence planning and will be addressed below.

In order to retain wealth within the country - to support the revenue base, and protect our economic independence - business, trading and taxation laws have to be biased strongly in favour of Australian (based) companies and employment. Economic policy must be geared against offshore profiteering, tax minimisation, harmful monopolisation, and foreign acquisition of national assets. Failure to act would respectively find the country's wealth extracted, inaccessible, concentrated, and/or captured by overseas interests. The costs of living (utilities, rates) must be minimised to further stimulate economic activity. Any degradation of the Australian economy would naturally have a detrimental impact on the ability of the ADF to maintain its current equipment and personnel.

Although open trading is desirable, policies must be enacted, in the National Interest, so certain levels of internal functionality, and self sufficiency, can be maintained in various areas for practical strategic reasons (beyond increasing/protecting the revenue base). Action should be taken to address the following functionality:

# Maintenance of a domestic oil refining capability.

# Maintenance of a domestic technological and industrial capability.

# Maintenance of a domestic arms industry.

# Maintenance of a physically and mentally healthy civilian population.

# Requirement of Financial Institutions (Commercial Banks) to be insulated from overseas financial market collapses.

# Consideration put towards a public banking system (as seen in North Dakota) allowing direct control over credit facilitation, including debt forgiveness. A public banking system would protect against money market meltdowns acting as an alternative source of fiat capital.

SECTION B: Warfighting Structure and Materiel by Service


The following is a summation of equipment and personnel levels that will illustrate the overall structure and function of the ADF.

Matters relating to intelligence gathering, or specifics relating to sensor technology, JORN radar for instance, and details about Special Forces, are deliberately omitted, as mentioned previously.

This list of equipment is based on existing technologies. It attempts to avoid development concepts that are either on the drawing board or in very early stages of development.

The first, most important, aspect to consider is the maintenance of a strong Air Force:


The RAAF's primary task is to prevent opposition aircraft from gaining a battlefield advantage. Maintaining air superiority facilitates ADF operations under an AIR AND SENSOR UMBRELLA enabling our size limited forces to 'punch above their weight'.

As a matter of National Security the air defences must therefore revolve around an Air Superiority Fighter that matches emerging threat type aircraft in the region. Threat aircraft will include Su-35, J-20, J-31 and PAK FA types. 

As a result of these projected threats, large numbers of F-35 aircraft, that are essentially strike and tactical air bombers, with limited air-to-air capability, should NOT be purchased. What is required is clearly an F-22A type, or even an F-15K type (as an interim solution), aircraft. Our present allocation of F-35s must be frozen at the lowest number possible and the aircraft tested in mock air-to-air combat against elements of the South Korean Air Force and other RAAF aircraft in Northern Australia. As of writing, the claim has been made that the F-35 can't run, can't turn, is only partially stealthy (certainly not against Infra Red Search and Track systems), and carries few air-to-air missiles that statistically will not achieve a 100% kill rate. These claims potentially put RAAF pilots in situations where they will face counterattacks that are within-visual-range. The F-35 must be tested.

The following list outlines the basic structure and functionality of the RAAF and is split into two sections of key aircraft types. Note that all training aircraft are required to operate as light attack platforms with some air-to-air (off boresight targeting) capability:

1. Primary Weapons Systems:

(100+) Air Superiority Fighters

At least 100 dedicated Air Superiority fighters are required. They will play a secondary Strike role, employing a range of standoff weapons, including cruise missiles, and engage in Tactical Air support where necessary. F-15Ks can be purchased immediately, as an interim platform, until either the F-22A or the FA-XX become available. An open tender should exist that outlines our requirement for a 5th Generation F-22 type aircraft. Requests could also be made, in conjunction with other nations such as Canada, the UK and Japan, to Northrop/Grumman asking for a 21st century development (in conjunction with SAAB) of the YF-23 that utilises existing avionics and sensors (from the F-15K for example) while omitting such complexities as radar absorbent paint. The modified design should incorporate some features of the PAK FA, like the extended weapons bay. Pro-active measures may be necessary in order to fulfil our air defence requirement.

(36+) Dedicated Strike, Tactical Air and Electronic Warfare Aircraft

The 36 FA-18E/F/Gs can be retained to cover all these roles until a proper replacement strike bomber can be acquired. An open tender can exist that calls for an aircraft such as the Northrop/Grumman FB-23 concept. The FA-18Gs will be retained and upgraded in any event to provide a dedicated EW platform.

(50+) Light Attack and Training Jets

Increased numbers of Hawk 127s (or replacement) aircraft, upgraded to fire a variety of guided munitions and missiles, will make up a number of light attack squadrons. Consideration should be made to fit some of these platforms with AESA radar to provide a useful air-to-air capability against armed helicopters and other fast jets.

(65) Counter Insurgency and Training Aircraft

Significant numbers of Embraer Super Tucano type aircraft must be considered as replacements to the PC-9s with a focus on counter-insurgency operations and counter-helicopter (air-to-air) missions.

2. Supporting Aircraft:

(6) E-7A Wedgetails - to operate in their current role as a key part of the air defence system.

(5) KC-30A Tankers - the numbers of which should be increased by 1 to 2 aircraft.

(4) P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft - with numbers increased to at least 12 as the platform matures and is able to take over the role of the Orions.

(6) MQ-4C Triton Maritime Surveillance Drones - to be introduced a number of years after the US has been operating these platforms to diminish development phase issues.

(17) AP-3C Orion Aircraft - to be maintained until 2025, with upgrades, or until the P-8A has proven itself as an adequate replacement.

(4) C-37A Gulfstream Vs - for long range Search and Rescue, and VIP transport.

Future Equipment: 1 Squadron of Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles (jets) to be acquired only when effectively fielded by the USAF - for use in high threat strike missions.

*Air transport equipment, that includes fixed wing and rotary aircraft, will be covered in a later section.


Continuing the theme of an AIR AND SENSOR UMBRELLA, the Army should be supported by their own armed UAVs and increased numbers of attack helicopters to provide support for the relatively limited number of ground forces. Enhancements to the sensor capability of individual troops and their ground vehicles is another primary goal. The Army size is to increase by two full brigades with significantly strengthened reserve forces. Army brigades will be hardened, with substantial mechanised and armoured units. There will be widespread use of anti-tank and thermobaric missile systems. Motorised units will have improved indirect fire support elements. Note: Small arms are not specifically covered as part of this submission.

1. Air-Umbrella Elements:

(20+) Armed UAVs

At least twenty MQ-1C Grey Eagle or MQ-9 Reaper drones should be acquired for broad battlefield surveillance and close air support. These aircraft may be operated by the RAAF.

(44) Attack Helicopters

The number of attack helicopters must be significantly increased, be ship deployable, and carry air-to-air missiles for self-defence. If problems persist with the current ARH Tigers, and/or increased numbers of these aircraft become too expensive or impractical to acquire, then off-the-shelf AH-64Es, British AH1s, or USMC AH-1Zs should be acquired.

(27) Scout Helicopters

OH-58D or F models should be acquired that can act as light fire support whilst maintaining a useful level of utility.

(20+) Lightweight battlefield UAVs.

Models such as the XMQ-19A, Skylark, ScanEagle (or better) will accompany motorised, mechanised and armoured units.

Future Equipment: The S-97 Raider as an OH-58 replacement. Tactical multi-day endurance UAV balloon-type airships, that can shadow patrols, and provide real time imagery.

2. Overall Ground Force Structure (and Sensor) Summary:

# Expansion of the Army to include two additional 1st Division Brigades.

# Strengthening of Reserve Army Units with current 1st Division equipment.

# Expansion of the Army Cadets program (plus Air Force and Navy Cadets) into all schools to encourage military enrolment and teach basic weaponry skills to the general population. 

# Contingency planning for the creation of a large, Irregular Civilian Infantry Force at short notice (based on the Cadets program).

# Night Vision and IR Scopes for all front line units. Vehicle mounted sights must include very high magnification detection equipment. In practice almost all ADF vehicles, such as Hawkei or Bushmasters (and even M113s), will have this sighting equipment as standard. Foot patrols will have their own image enhancing equipment and should also have access to Tactical Periscopes for looking around or over cover.  

# Squad-level UAVs, that are normally folded away in a slim case, with an iPad or iPhone controller, should be tested as optional equipment for patrols.    

3. Specific Fighting Vehicles and Artillery Support:

The following Army equipment comprises current and future vehicle acquisitions. Only core warfighting equipment is covered, otherwise this submission defers to existing programs. A key aspect to consider is that all vehicles must incorporate high magnification day/night optical sighting equipment (mentioned above) as part of their standard configuration.

Note: The retention of heavy armour is a necessary element to provide additional firepower where required - especially in relation to the cited mainland invasion scenario. Increased numbers of artillery and mortar equipped vehicles are seen as an essential requirement.

(100+) Leopard 2A7s Main Battle Tanks - intended to replace the current M1A1 Abrams. K2 Black Panther tanks should also be considered.

(200+) K21 Infantry Fighting Vehicles - in support of both Leopard 2A7s and Patria AMVs (see below). The K21s will operate in the anti-tank, anti-IFV, and infantry carrier roles. Puma IFVs should also be considered and tested.

(400+) Patria AMVs - as scouts, IFVs, 105mm Fire Support/Anti-Tank, 120mm Mortar platforms, Mobile Air Defence, Command, plus Evac roles.

(430+) M113AS4 Multi-role APCs - retained for use in both 1st and 2nd Division units with upgraded equipment packages to include anti-tank missiles and mortar systems. More 113s out of the 700 total possessed by the Army will be put back into service (many in fire support roles) being upgraded to AS4 standard.

(250+) ASLAVs - as scouts and IFVs.

(1000+) Bushmaster PMVs - to be kept in their current role with upgraded sensors.

(900+) Hawkei LPMVs for scouting & light utility.

(60) CAESAR Self Propelled 155mm/52 Calibre Artillery - transportable via C-130 with a potentially modified mine resistant truck component.

(80) EVO 105 Truck Mounted Howitzer - 105mm mobile artillery.

(60) M777 Ultra lightweight 155mm Towed Artillery

A substantial increase in Anti-Tank (MBT LAW) and Anti-Air (Mistral) weapons systems, including both man-portable and vehicle mounted varieties, should occur. M113s, Bushmasters, Hawkei (insert vehicle here) with high magnification sights, will commonly carry such equipment. Anti-infantry and soft vehicle (thermobaric) warheads should be included. Lessons from the Falklands to Iraq show the usefulness of man portable and vehicle mounted missiles.

*Air transport equipment, that includes fixed wing and rotary aircraft, will be covered in a later section.


The Navy's primary task is to control waters around the Australian continent maintaining an above and below water AIR AND SENSOR UMBRELLA using submarines, RAAF air support, surface vessels, and ship-based rotary wing aviation. Development of undersea listening stations, a SOSUS system, if not already in operation, will provide further surface ship and submarine detection capability.

The primary sea control element will be an expanded submarine force able to project power around the Indonesian archipelago and into the near Pacific and Indian Oceans. Submarines will forward deploy ahead of the surface fleet during a time of conflict.

The surface fleet's function, to destroy other vessels, continues with an emphasis on Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) combined with a focus on air defence, particularly anti-missile defence. All destroyers and frigates will therefore field multi-layered missile defence systems (CIWS and anti-missile missiles), and have strong ASW sensors including towed sonar arrays.

NAVY destroyers, frigates and submarines will also have a secondary land-attack strike capability being fitted to carry Tomahawk (LAM) cruise missiles. All capital ships, including armed offshore patrol vessels, will routinely employ drones and helicopters as part of normal operations.

1. Primary Weapons Systems:

(12) Submarines - 4000 ton displacement

Soryu Class vessels should be immediately acquired to act as an anti-submarine platform, anti-ship platform, strategic strike platform (targeting Command & Control facilities plus Airfields - via Tomahawk LAM), and in surveillance and special operations. Consideration for purchasing a potentially more advanced HDW 216 type submarine should be considered for a later date, but only after the Soryu Class fills the existing capability gap. Future systems might include an undersea-launched UAV.

(3) Hobart Class Destroyers - 6200 ton displacement

These vessels are to act in a multi-role capacity in addition to their air defence mission. They must also provide a limited strike capability via the Tomahawk LAM. It should be noted that the present radar system on these vessels is not top-of-the-line and refitting will likely occur at a later date. Work on changes towards a low observable superstructure should also be considered. In addition to an SH-60R helo these ships will carry two MQ-8B Fire Scout drones that can be armed for surface attack.

(8+) Type 26 Frigates - 5400 ton displacement

These frigates are to replace the Anzac Class ships from 2022 and must be optimised for anti-submarine warfare and air defence. They must employ bow and towed sonar as part of their standard configuration. The radar systems on these vessels will be optimised to detect and shoot down low flying missiles at range, as on Daring Class Destroyers, with two CIWS units as the final layer of defence. Like the Hobart Class ships these frigates will be Tomahawk LAM capable and operate two MQ-8B Fire Scout drones.

(20+) Gowind (L'Adroit Class) Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) - 1500 ton displacement

These ships are to be upgraded to become effective war fighting vessels replacing the Armidale Class Patrol boats. In addition to a 76mm deck gun they should carry anti-ship missiles, a Rolling Airframe Missile system (or equivalent), and some type of lightweight sonar/torpedo system. If possible the design will be modified to extend the flight deck over the RHIB dock allowing the aircraft hangar situated under the bridge to be moved (or extended) further aft. The ship will facilitate the operation of ASW/Surface Attack AS565 MB Panther helos. Usually they will carry two Camcopters (or armed Fire Scout UAVs). In times of conflict the armed UAVs, or helicopter, will provide an advantage over other littoral combatants - particularly against hostile patrol boats and missile boats.

Air-Umbrella Elements: Naval Helicopters and UAVs:

The use of aircraft is a key factor in detecting and countering other surface combatants. (Where possible the surface fleet will operate with RAAF surveillance comprising MQ-4C Triton drones,  P-8A Poseidons, AP-3C Orions and C-37A Gulfstream Vs.)    

(30+) MQ-8B Firescout drones for use on capital ships and armed with Hellfire missiles, plus  S-100 Camcopters (for use on the OPVs).

(24) SH-60Rs - for surface and ASW operations on Canberra, Hobart, and Type 26 Class.

(24) AS565 MB Panthers - for surface and ASW operations primarily from Gowind OPVs.

(12+) EH101s - for transport and search operations on Canberra Class LHDs.

Future Equipment: Ship-deployable multi-day endurance UAV airships.

2. Secondary Vessels:

The following ships are primarily for use in low intensity operations; or in higher tempo operations under an established air defence and ASW umbrella. Otherwise these vessels should be fitted for, and training aimed at, supporting humanitarian missions.

(2) Canberra Class LHDs - for use in low intensity actions, where there is no seaborne or air threat, and humanitarian operations. (This operational limitation can be lifted if equipped with CIWS missile defences. The use of STOVL aircraft should then be considered in limited maritime strike and attack roles.) - displacing 27,000 tons.

(1) HMAS Choules LDS - strategic sealift vessel upgraded with CIWS - displacing 16,000 tons.

(1) HMAS Tobruk replacement (1 Endurance Class LDS type?) - displacing 8000+ tons.

(3) Spearhead Class high speed transport catamarans - displacing 2362 tons.

(6) Future Heavy Landing Craft (Caimen-200 design) replacing Balikpapan Class - displacing 800+ tons.

(2) Future Fleet Replenishment vessels with CH-47 operable heli deck - displacing 25,000+ tons.

(6) Future Mine Sweepers - displacing 1500+ tons.

(2) Future Survey vessels - displacing 2000+ tons.

(-) Requisition of civilian transport ships - ferries, container ships - during emergency situations.


Air transport capacity is increased along with the size of the ADF with lower cost support platforms introduced. The primary role of the transport element is to support Australian Army operations across the continent. The secondary task is to support multi-national combat operations and humanitarian missions.

(6) C-17 Globemaster IIIs - currently in service [Now increased to 8].

(3) A400 Atlas transporters also usable as tankers.

(12) C-130Js retained in their current roles and replaced with A400s if these aircraft prove more effective.

(10) C-27Js Spartan tactical transports (or even the DHC-4T Turbo Caribou if the Spartan proves inadequate to the mission).

(46) NH90s - currently in service (to be replaced by USMC UH-1Y Venom helos if problems persist with this platform).

(34+) UH-1H Huey IIs - to operate as a low cost work horse for reserve forces, in disaster relief and long term low intensity deployments. (The ADF will also retain simple-to-operate early versions of the Kiowa OH-58, or an equivalent aircraft, for light utility work.)

(12) Chinook CH-47Fs - increased numbers.

SECTION C: Defence Procurement Strategies:

Although partly addressed throughout this submission, particular attention must be paid to aspects of defence procurement policy.

Where possible all new equipment types must be extensively tested over a period of at least 18-24 months in operational units before being accepted or rejected.

Acquisition and development of submarines should be a continuous exercise starting with the purchase and deployment of Soryu Class boats. If better vessels become available, such as a proposed HDW 216 type (with longer range than Soryu), then a move to the new boat should be undertaken - phasing them in whilst older vessels are retired, or made part of an expanded fleet.

When faced with highly specialised, high risk, and/or high cost programs the ADF must endeavour to contract these at a set price to a single experienced manufacturer. Sufficient time must be spent on the initial design work to avoid alterations during construction. The specialised building of high cost, high risk platforms, like submarines, should be conducted entirely overseas if necessary. (Money that is saved in this manner can be spent building extensive domestic maintenance facilities.) This principle of buying overseas, to save on expenses, applies to the purchase of all equipment - including for the Air Force and Army.

For less complicated and less expensive systems construction should still be undertaken in Australia - especially in building a sizable fleet of Armed L'Adroit Class OPVs, off-the-shelf Type 26 Frigates or Bushmaster vehicles. Industry policy should always aim to benefit Australian defence companies when the cost and risk can be kept at reasonable levels.

Attention should also be directed toward the idea of an open tender system and the proactive lobbying of defence manufacturers to get what is required - especially in regard to acquiring 5th Generation Air Superiority Fighters and Strike Bombers. By working with allied countries such as the UK, Japan and Canada, and with less ambitious objectives, using existing technology wherever possible, a positive, cost effective outcome is certainly achievable.


The Indonesian Threat Scenario Explained

In the event the USA suffers a disastrous economic (US dollar) collapse, brought about either through a financial crisis or natural calamity, where much of their military is disbanded and recalled home, Australia may find itself exposed.

Absent a nuclear deterrent, the continent of Australia may be seen as a prize for the heavily populated countries to our north. 

The most obvious danger is a surprise attack launched by the Armed Forces of Indonesia. The attack envisaged here originates from a future radicalised and/or nationalist Indonesian Government bent on an expansionist agenda - a situation that may conceivably arise within a 10 year time frame.

Military preparations to attack Australia would be organised by Indonesian commanders, under the guise of an annual training exercise, established 2 to 3 years earlier. The orders to 'go live' would then only come via word of mouth so there would be no signals intelligence data on the action.

The only indications of an impending attack may come from increased tensions between Indonesia and its northern neighbours (a ruse, used to mask the real target of their military build up), and some level of anti-Australian, or anti-Western propaganda, appearing in their domestic media.

Indonesian forces will consist of a large regular army with correspondingly large numbers of commando trained units, special forces, and extremist 'suicide' units. Their air and sea assets would consist of modern weapons systems with substantial numbers of Su-35 or better type aircraft providing an air umbrella.

Initially the invading force would infiltrate commando units inside civilian cargo ships (or inside chartered aircraft) with objectives in the north to destroy RAAF aircraft plus airfield facilities, to attack and disable naval facilities (including docked ships), to destroy power stations, and to secure logistical resources, including Australian Army facilities, that can be used to partly sustain the landed force. Logistical targets would consist of fuel depots, ammunition depots, plus food and water facilities.

Other objectives undertaken by smaller semi-expendable extremist units in the south could include the above mentioned targets plus the destruction of gas and water infrastructure and the lighting of bushfires during a summer invasion. With this initial commando force tying up Australian resources, the remaining Indonesian Army units, with heavy equipment, would be landed via fast civilian sea-catamaran transports, rerouting troops from wargaming exercises. Indonesian military airlifters would also contribute to the deployment. During the course of the operation 'reasonable' calls would be made by the (genocide intending) attackers for the Australian Government to surrender.

In this scenario greater protection of existing ADF bases is required to limit the initial damage wrought by attacking commando units and from air and tactical missile strikes. A review of airbase security and aircraft protection measures (dispersal/hardened shelters/deceptions/air defence systems) will be needed. It is essential that the RAAF remains effective in order to impose air dominance - isolating and destroying the invading force over the land and sea.

The level of attrition expected in this invasion scenario demands an expanded ADF. Enough capability must remain, after initial attacks, and during a campaign, to launch effective holding and counter attacks against a numerically superior aggressor.


This paper, which was limited to 5000 words, appears in the Public Submissions section of the 2015 Defence White Paper webpage at entry number 90.

For further ideas on cost saving and organisational (DMO) reform please consult the Eric Palmer Defence blog and read Air Power Australia's review, Australia's Failing Defence Structure and Management Methodology. The advice offered at the Eric Palmer blog and APA comes without attachments to the defence industry and represents a free flow of ideas and critical analyses, coming from experienced individuals. A synthesis of ideas from those sources, and this defence white paper submission, may prove beneficial to ADF planning. Considering the opinion of expert critics, the informed opposing viewpoint, is essential.

Editor's Notes:

The preferred final numbers of Air Superiority Fighters are actually 120-150 aircraft, which ends any debate over the adequacy of the air defences. These aircraft must be equipped to fire Meteor Missiles and also have IRST. A mixed force of F-15K Eagles (55) and the Gripen E (100), along with a squadron of EFA-18Gs, is another possibility - pending the introduction of an FA-XX type platform.

Preferred final numbers of Hawk 127s (or replacements) are in the order of 60 aircraft, allowing at least two dedicated attack squadrons.

Although the expansion of battlefield drones is favoured in this paper, they must not fully replace capability offered by manned assets because of the likelihood of disruption by jamming.

The F-35A must be never be considered as a suitable multi-role fighter for the Air Force since it has so many unresolved problems (including intrinsic design flaws). It is not an operationally viable platform when pitted against emerging stealth platforms, and some existing aircraft.

Ideal numbers of Leopard 2A7s, or Black Panther K2s, should exceed 150 units. The Lynx KF-41 IFV (modified with twin ATGW launchers) should now be seen as the preferred alternative over the K21 or Puma IFVs (the vehicle appeared after this paper was submitted). Some Lynx 41s should also feature variants with 105mm-120mm guns to act in a dedicated anti-armour role and as an indirect fire platform.

The Boxer CRV should now be seen as the preferred option rather than the Patria AMV, and must be ATGW equipped (preferably with twin launchers - one on each side of the turret).  Boxer variants must also include 105mm-120mm gun equipped anti-armour units, and a dedicated anti-tank missile equipped version (with multiple reload capability), to act as part of a rapid reaction force. Improved ballistic protection for frontline (rapid reaction) motorised units should be considered through the phasing in of more than 300 wheeled Textron TAPVs, now equipping the Canadian Army. Existing (proposed) rapid reaction force Bushmasters (using 12.7mm guns, ATGWs) would move to support roles. Attention should also be paid to developments in French Army equipment, especially the Jaguar EBRC 6x6 reconnaissance vehicle. [For a better overview of proposed ADF armour visit this page.]

Mobile Artillery firepower must be improved with the introduction of the G6-52 Rhino wheeled artillery vehicle. Up to 80 vehicles should be acquired while numbers of other artillery units reduced or moved to reserve units. Development of a wheeled automatic resupply vehicle, such as the Korean K10 that feeds the K9, should be explored.

Another option for replacing the NH90, if problems persist, should be an enhanced extended range version of the UH-60M Blackhawk, which would take advantage of existing infrastructure. Although the main text only references the USMC UH-1Y Venom as a viable NH90 replacement this Marine platform should be seen as the second choice alternative. A future helicoptor to be considered as a replacement for all of these options is the SB-1 Defiant coaxial rotor platform currently under development.

In addition to the option of fielding small, very lightweight squad-level quadcopter UAVs, intended for infantry patrols, heavier commercial UAVs of the same configuration should be available to motorised units, being a step down from the larger ScanEagle type drones.

To counter people smuggling boats the NAVY will be operating L'Adroit Class OPVs with HMAS Choules or an Endurance Class LDS as the main support ship.

On submarine procurement, it must be an ongoing process where an immediate off-the-shelf purchase (or at the very least, leasing) of Japanese Soryu boats will be required to quickly increase our existing fleet size to between 8-10 vessels (the final fleet size is 12 boats). Concurrently a new German (HDW216) or French (SMX-Ocean) design would then be selected to replace the Collins Class, and eventually the Japanese Soryu Class, with the new submarine being built in Australia or wholly imported. Domestic submarine building, delivering one vessel every 2 years, should be a continuous activity because after the 12th boat is commissioned the first would be due for retirement (after 24 years of service.) The ultimate target is to raise submarine numbers to at least 12 boats. If submarine numbers were expanded to 15 boats then we would see the initial vessel being replaced after 30 years service.

On procurement matters in general, it is essential that weapons manufacturers be kept at arm's length so that an objective assessment of their equipment can be made. Purchasing the best possible (superior) platform, that can also be sustained 'in country', is the objective. It is important that unbiased evaluations, in terms of initial decision making, feature contributions from truly independent, and expert, outside groups (like Air Power Australia). There is always the danger that crony relationships with big defence corporations will sway arms procurement decisions in the wrong direction leading to overly political choices. This can result in higher long-term costs and/or lower performance equipment than could have otherwise been purchased.

In terms of force posture, the ADF will base substantial materiel and personnel in rear areas - out of range of any initial conventional attacks (aircraft, missiles), whilst keeping northern infrastructure at the ready. Southern bases will be expanded and forces moved rapidly to reinforce currently positioned northern ADF units in times of conflict.

To combat irregular rear area urban incursions, or commando raids, during the war scenario, planning must be undertaken to mobilise local Reserve Army units in co-operation with the Police and their SWAT Teams. This is a separate strategy from the strengthening of base security throughout the country mentioned in the main text. The expected raiding forces will be in the order of a few active individuals to more than fifty extremists (consider the Mumbai Massacre as an example). Anti-raid exercises should be conducted combining Police units with local military in order to counter these mass casuality terrorist operations - so that the SAS is not tied up during an invasion. Police SWAT Teams should be enlarged in anticipation of this threat and issued with rifle attached grenade launchers. All other members of the Police force will be briefed and involved in these exercises. Military installations within major population centres should be prepared for this eventuality - with training on how to conduct a running street battle against lightly armed opponents in conjuction with police forces.

Note: An important set of rear area targets not adequately covered in the text due to space constraints will be oil and petroleum infrastructure. In an extended conflict with no outside assistance, maintaining supplies of petrol and aviation kerosene will be a priority. The establishment of well protected and dispersed reserves will be necessary.

In terms of regular ADF exercises, combined arms training, that involve snap alerts, short notice deployments and mobilisations against large scale simulated attacks, should be a routine occurrence. I would hope these sorts of training activities are self evident to defence chiefs who have read this paper.

[For further design information on a modern development of the YF-23, and some of the other equipment briefly mentioned in this White Paper submission, see the relevant entries on this website. The Editor's notes on this page will be updated from time to time.]


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    1. Thanks Hagen,

      I hope the information here gets noticed by those advising the Government. My greatest concerns are that the country needs a bigger and better air force (considering emerging regional threats), and a much larger army (including reserves). Many people might consider a military threat to the Australian continent as being highly unlikely, but knowing history, and understanding how quickly civilisations or centres of power can collapse, I feel that it is prudent to always plan for a worst case scenario - figuring for events that may unfold in 10 years time.

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