Assuming some level of immediate threat, while taking into consideration the tight Defence budget, and insuring against equipment that may not function adequately, Future ADF Page provides the following brief equipment structure that provides an instantly workable force.
Although there are cuts to the numbers of weapons platforms proposed from the main page entries, this outline still retains an increase in size of the military as it is necessary to provide a proper defence, looking forward, against a large, well-equipped, hostile nation. There is no point saving money on cheaper and smaller sized alternatives if that will compromise warfighting capability and lead to defeat. Once again Future ADF Page does not assume any outside assistance from allied nations during a time of conflict.
Each of the listed items should be recognised as key acquisitions. Greater detail regarding complimentary weapons systems should be considered on the main page. The pictures here highlight changes to equipment from the main entries on this website focusing on items that can be fielded immediately to solve capability gaps or to replace substandard hardware:
(100) F-15K Slam Eagle Multi-Role Air Superiority Fighters - used primarily for air dominance and strike missions, to eventually be replaced by F/A-XX aircraft. A mixed force of Eagles (44) and the Gripen E (100) is another possibility.
(36) F/A-18E/F/G Super Hornets - to be retained as tactical air 'bomb truck' and vital electronic warfare platforms.
(6) AWACs aircraft - currently Wedgetail 737s in service.
(7) KC-30A Multi-Role Tankers - currently in operation.
(18) P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft - delayed introduction with upgraded AP-3C Orions operating (the entire fleet) until the mid 2020s.
(5) C-37A Gulfstream V - long range search and transport aircraft.
(65) Embraer Super Tucanos - as per the current listing.
*All further equipment should follow from the Air Force entry with the exception of the strategic UAV squadrons which will need to be phased in as they become viable platforms ie. they are not immediately workable equipment.
(3) Hobart Class Destroyers - reduced numbers from the mainpage entry (see the NAVY section), due to excessive program costs.
(8) Type 26 Frigates - to be phased in as the Anzac Class retires. There should remain the option to build 2 more of these ships to expand the surface fleet.
(10) Sōryū-Class Submarines - potentially acquired through a lease arrangement, and upgraded to fire tube-launched Tomahawk Land Attack missiles, with modifications to slightly increase the vessel's range. There must remain an option to replace these boats, or cancel later deliveries, in order to acquire the SMX Ocean-Class submarine (if or) when it becomes available.
(16+) Gowind Class [Armed] OPVs - equipped with a 76mm deck gun and upgraded with anti-air, anti-ship & light weight anti-submarine systems.
(2) Canberra Class LHDs - upgraded to include anti-air and anti-missile systems (RAM) and fitted with anti-ship missiles. ASW helos are to be included to compliment the torpedo countermeasures system.
(1) HMAS Choules LDS.
(2) Endurance Class LDS vessels - to replace HMAS Tobruk.
(2) Spearhead Class high speed transport catamarans.
*All Australian submarines (as the primary sea control and strategic strike weapon) must have enough range to operate effectively around the Indonesian archipelago, to act in defence of Australian Territories, and patrol neighbouring regions of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. For further details see the NAVY entry on the main page. (Note: Any Unmanned Surface Vessels are to be included only when these systems are fully developed.)
(94) Leopard 2A7s or K2 Black Panthers - intended to replace the current M1 Abrams.
(180) K-21 IFVs - or Puma or CV90s (to be tested).
(350) Patria AMVs - to operate as IFVs, direct and indirect fire support, and AAA.
(40) CAESAR self propelled 155mm/52 Calibre artillery.
(38) EVO 105mm truck mounted artillery.
*Plus an additional 1st Division Brigade with expanded and strengthened Army Reserve Forces (2nd Division) using present 1st Division equipment that include M-113AS4s and ASLAVs. For further details see the Army main page and Army Vehicles entries.
Helicopters and UAVs
(44) AH-1Z Viper attack helo (USMC) - to replace the Tiger ARH if problems continue with the aircraft. Another alternative is the UK's AH-1 Apache that has been adapted for naval operations.
(46) UH-1Y Venom (USMC) - to replace the NH90 MRH if development issues persist. Another immediate option is an enhanced UH-60M, that would take advantage of existing Blackhawk infrastructure.
(27) OH-58Ds - for recon, light attack and utility operations.
(34+) UH-1H Huey IIs - upgraded with night vision as part of a large Army aviation reserve force.
(12) CH-47F Chinooks - for heavy lift.
(12) AW101s - for use on NAVY LHDs
(20+) Reaper/Mariner UAVs - for use in recon, maritime surveillance and light attack roles.
*The USMC equipment is intended to replace the Tiger ARH and NH90 MRH if these platforms prove troublesome. These aircraft are fully navalized and have many interchangeable parts.
Procurement Strategy - Applying Cost Saving Measures to the Entries on the Main Page
The equipment suggestions featured on the main page of this website should be acquired with a mind to keeping costs down.
Expensive items like the proposed twelve HDW 216 submarines must be contracted out at a set price, of around 850 million per platform, with construction conducted entirely overseas if necessary. Extensive maintenance facilities for these boats will still be set up separately in Australia so that later refitting and refurbishment can be undertaken. The goal would be to keep the overall cost of the program at between 15 to 20 billion dollars as opposed to the 40 billion presently estimated for developing and building our own submarines.
The construction of less complicated and less expensive systems can still be undertaken in Australia - like building a sizable fleet of Armed Gowind Class OPVs and (unmodified) Type 26 Frigates. This principle applies to the purchase of all equipment including for the Air Force and Army. The country should only take advantage of in-house production when the cost and risk can be kept at reasonable levels. Where possible, extensive in the field, testing over the course of at least 18 months, must be carried out on newly introduced equipment before being accepted (or rejected) by the ADF.
2015 Defence White Paper Submission
It is recommended that readers of this page also consider the material outlined in this website's 2015 Defence White Paper submission. The focus there is orientated towards a strengthened Air Force and Army where ground forces are to be expanded by two first division brigades.