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The Future ADF Page equipment and numbers reflect a larger Australian population and a larger economy facing periods of destabilisation in the Asia/Pacific region - including in the Indian Ocean.
The equipment suggestions are focused on maximising the warfighting capability of the country rather than fielding reconnaissance orientated or underequipped platforms and personnel. The Armed Forces are tasked with three broad missions:
1. Defending the Australian Mainland,
2. Engaging in Distant Unilateral Air-Sea-Land Operations in a 'Falklands War-type' scenario,
3. Participation in Multi-National Overseas Engagements anywhere on the globe, whether they be humanitarian* or conflict based, that include the ability to strategically deploy all necessary equipment, personnel and supply logistics.
Future ADF Page does not assume any logistical or direct warfighting assistance from the USA or other allies during a time of conflict.
1. Defending the Australian Mainland - In the primary role of defending the Australian mainland the ADF must be centred on equipment and personnel needed to defeat a potential rogue and radicalised Indonesian Military force that may develop in a 10 to 15 year time frame.
The opposing force must be assumed to consist of a large 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.
The invading force scenario would see a covert infiltration of commando units in civilian cargo ships whose objectives are to destroy RAAF aircraft and 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 could include the destruction of gas and water infrastructure plus the lighting of bushfires during a summer invasion. With the initial landing force tying up Australian resources and damaging air and sea capability, the remaining Indonesian army units, with heavy equipment, would be landed via fast civilian sea-catamaran transports rerouting troops from wargaming exercises that would provide cover for the attack. During the course of the operation calls would be made by the attackers for the Australian Government to surrender.
It should be pointed out that in certain instances the invading forces may intend genocide on the Australian population. Whilst there may be calls for surrender we could also see a 'Genghis Khan' approach that involves the wholesale killing (or enslavement) of almost everyone on the Australian continent.
As a consequence of such a scenario Future ADF Page recommends that the Australian Army be expanded by at least 1 Brigade (3000-4000 troops), preferably two, and that all Reserve Army Units be significantly strengthened. Furthermore contingency planning should be made so that a large irregular infantry force can be formed from the civilian population in short order. This irregular force would be based upon an expanded Military Cadets school program that teaches basic weaponry skills to all students.
In this scenario greater protection of existing military bases will be required to limit the damage wrought by attacking commando units - with larger hostile forces expected in the north and smaller forces in the Southern states. Air and Naval forces must remain effective in order to isolate the invading force via air dominance and sea control - the details of such ADF forces being covered in the Air Force and NAVY page sections.
2. Engaging in Distant Unilateral Air-Sea-Land Operations - In a volatile future the Australian Defense Force may be called upon to act unilaterally, or act as part of a two nation task force, in the assistance of a foreign Pacific Nation ally. By conceiving of such engagements in terms of a Falklands War type scenario (air power, anti-ship missiles, submarines, logistics) Australian Naval forces should be structured to effectively engage in these operations throughout the Indo-Pacific region. Submarine and Anti-Submarine forces will be essential. In any event, with the commissioning of the two Canberra Class amphibious assault ships, more vessels will be required to protect these flat tops if they are deployed during a time of conflict. An expanded and strengthened Navy is also needed in the rogue Indonesian war scenario so that the sea lanes can be controlled, and counter strike operations conducted to assist mainland ground forces.
3. Participation in Multi-National Overseas Engagements - Presently the ADF is well placed to perform this role. Additional C-17 aircraft and CH-47 aircraft are recommended to improve overall logistical capability in this regard.
*Humanitarian Operations - The primary peace-time role of the ADF is in humanitarian and logistical support for 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. By using air and sea transport assets, genuine goodwill can be built between Australia and the people of our closest neighbours.
In other respects standard training exercises will continue but with newly introduced snap alerts, large scale mobilisations, heightened Reserve Force exercises, and NAVY emphasis on ASW and aircraft/missile threats - plus expanded Army capability in the amphibious, including heliborne, insertion roles. It is important to note that the Future ADF Page advocates higher personnel and equipment numbers to take into account a level of attrition during warfighting scenarios.
Please note, this site is provided to the reader as a conceptual exercise that places capability over budgets. In reality some components would be scaled back or cut unless defence spending is increased. If spending is limited then the focus must center on the defence of the mainland - with a strong Air Force and an expanded Army being the priority. The expanded submarine force should also be seen as a priority to control the seas and as a delivery platform for land attack missile strikes against opposing command and airfield facilities.
Whatever the budget situation the entire ADF structure must be built firstly around personnel, equipment and logistical necessities with the administrative side to the equation being not more than absolutely required. (For more on these matters visit the Eric Palmer blog and consult Air Power Australia's review, Australia's Failing Defence Structure and Management Methodology, for reflective analysis on ADF organisational characteristics.)
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Future ADF Page, 2012-2015.
(Future ADF Page will be updated on occasion. Look out for altered posts and additions to the side column 'Video Links' sections. There is also a cut-down 'budget' version of the suggested equipment that can be found in the side column under the title Immediately Workable ADF Equipment and Structure. It is also recommended that readers of this page consider the material outlined in this website's 2015 Defence White Paper submission. The focus there is orientated towards Defending the Australian Mainland, with a strengthened Air Force and Army, where ground forces are expanded by two first division brigades.)