It seems that Australia’s next fighter jet, the F-35 may well be an expensive dud.
From The Australian last week:
Nevertheless, like Australia the British Parliament has been grossly misled about the costs involved.
The British politicians have been told that each Joint Strike Fighter will cost between £77 million and £100 million. Thanks to research work by Deborah Haynes, the defence editor of The Times, the British learned that the cost of the aircraft was actually more than £150 million…
…But then there are extras which take the total cost to £7 billion for the 21 JSF or a total cost per aircraft of £333 million — that’s more than $US400 million and about twice The Times’ estimate, which did not include all the ancillary requirements…
…But for the poor British, the JSF morass is even worse than The Times outlined. The British are buying the F-35B or the aircraft carrier version called ‘the STOVL’ (short takeoff and vertical landing). But it now looks as though the STOVL version of the JSF has a flying distance range that is substantially below what is required to be a serious aircraft carrier weapon. So not only are the British going to pay an enormous price for the JSF, but they have also outlaid a huge amount for an aircraft carrier that can only be used for the JSF. It is a double blow.
To top it off, the British have been studying the video of the JSF at the Paris Air Show. Because the aircraft was flying at very high levels, those on the ground couldn’t really follow what was going on. But the videos showed that the JSF was really struggling despite some excellent flying by its test pilot. And just to rub the salt deep into the British wounds Moscow has had its own air show and showed off its new Sukhoi Su-35 aircraft which performed with unbelievable brilliance. There was no comparison. And, of course we all know, the Indonesians are going to buy the Russian Sukhoi Su-35 aircraft.
I am no expert on jet aircraft. So hopefully all the predictions are wrong.
However, it is not just the capability of the F-35 that Australians should worry about. Because even if it turns out to be everything promised, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has just embarked on a program to produce second-rate pilots.
This scandal is far worse. And it comes to us thanks to the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), which now appears to be running the nation’s military.
You can forgive the AHRC for being dud military commanders.
No one in there has any military experience at all. And it is flat out like a lizard drinking (if I am still allowed to use the phrase) dealing with racist cartoonists, racist uni students, rape-filled uni campuses and an entire nation of racist businesses that can only be solved with expensive PR campaigns to promote the AHRC Commissars of Enlightenment (at taxpayer expense of course).
So even if the AHRC was filled with Rommels and Pattons, they don’t have much time to devote to military matters anyway.
Despite this, the AHRC’s Kate Jenkins has provided a series of recommendations to the RAAF. She is a human rights lawyer (appointed by the Turnbull government as Sex Discrimination Commissioner) and so knows nothing about combat air power or how to manage it.
Yet the RAAF has accepted and is implementing 62 of Jenkins’ 65 recommendations.
What are they about?
Not improving Defence capability.
Instead, they are all about turning Top Gun into Miss Gun.
Apparently, the AHRC is unhappy that we don’t have a female fast jet fighter pilot in Australia. And that has to change, even if it means the RAAF becomes so degraded that it is virtually pointless.
To gain a taste of the insanity in the AHRC’s report, ‘Improving Opportunities for Women to Become Fast Jet Pilots in Australia’, one only needs to read three paragraphs on page 9:
ACG Command report that they are losing male pilots due to the physical requirements of intensive air-to-air combat training combined with high G-force. They report that fast jet pilot trainees who excel in all other areas of the training program may fail due to their inability to manage repeated head-turning under G-force.
ACG report that there are physical injuries associated with fast jet flying, predominantly relating to soft tissue back and neck injury. When the Commission visited ACG at Williamtown Base, Command advised that five pilots were grounded due to neck and back injuries. Injury for female pilots during dog-fighting is a concern for Command at ACG. Over the years, Command have debated the ways to optimise the training while avoiding injury. This includes implementing training techniques to alleviate the need for so much head movement at G-force. Some members at ACG suggested that pilots could prop their head against the seat and move it from side to side without making large head turning movements. ACG will need to consider these options if it is to sustain a female and male pilot workforce with increased operating capacity in future years.
A number of female pilots reported that the U.S. Air Force streams its pilots into specialities and not all fast jet pilots are required to be highly skilled in dog-fighting techniques. While the number of pilots in the U.S. Air Force is significantly larger than that of the Air Force, this pyramid model may be worthy of further exploration by ACG.
I know that staff at the AHRC probably prefer finger-painting and often do not have English as a first language. And even if they did, it is probably frowned-upon as some vestigial hangover from the days of offensive colonialism. But the language in this report is clear enough.
The AHRC recognises that even males struggle to meet the physical requirements of intensive air-to-air combat. So it has decided that air-to-air combat training should be watered down or even done away with altogether so that we can have glossy magazines with sheilas standing in front of fighter jets.
And it put forward 65 recommendations to achieve that outcome. Here are just some of the more outrageous recommendations that the AHRC has put forward.
- Create a Female Pilot Workforce Development Unit filled with HR experts (instead of Air Combat experts) to manage such things as maternity leave (recommendation 1.2).
- Provide female pilot trainees with extra non-tested training in PC-9 aircraft (recommendation 1.4).
- Provide female pilot trainees with extra non-tested training in Hawk aircraft (recommendation 1.5).
- Redesign the pilot training program and tailor it for each individual female trainee so that it can provide opportunities for ‘Miss Top Gun’ to also become ‘Mrs Mum’ (recommendation 1.13).
- Implement recruitment quotas for female trainee pilots with cash bonuses for all when females graduate (recommendation 2.1).
- Mandate ‘unconscious bias’ training for all recruiting staff (recommendation 2.7).
- Ensure equal gender representation of RAAF members at all stages of recruitment (recommendation 2.8).
- Redesign medical assessment policies to remove ‘unwanted barriers’ for female pilots (recommendation 2.10).
- Redesign spatial visualisation assessments to account for ‘gender bias’ (recommendation 2.13).
- Re-engineer the common-sense of the 50% plus of RAAF members who disagree with strategies to water down pilot training programs to produce female fighter pilots through ‘zero-tolerance’ gender diversity training (recommendation 2.14).
- Provide females with additional training on technical flying requirements (recommendation 3.1).
- Change the testing parameters for test flights (recommendation 3.2).
- Redesign the pilot training program so that there are less tested flights (recommendation 3.3).
- Allow pilot trainees to ‘negotiate’ their instructional preferences with instructors (recommendation 3.5).
- Increase training on visualisation skills for females who do not have the same natural ability as males (recommendation 3.7).
- Ensure changes to training programs are promoted as ‘gender neutral’ so that females do not feel like the changes are being made for them (recommendation 3.8).
- Provide females with coaching on ‘controlled aggression’ which they do not naturally exhibit (recommendation 3.9).
- Provide female trainees with a week of non-tested flight training in the RAAF’s front-line combat wing (recommendation 3.10).
- The RAAF is to acknowledge its masculine culture and the ‘cultural advantage’ this bestows on males (recommendation 4.1).
- Review training curriculum to remove ‘gendered’ language (recommendation 4.2).
- Run propaganda programs across the RAAF to explain that gender diversity actually increases combat capability (recommendation 4.7).
- Prioritise females as flying instructors (even though no females have qualified as fast jet pilots) (recommendation 4.9).
- Monitor the F-35 design so that it is female friendly (recommendation 5.1).
- Modify air-to-air combat training so that pilot trainees who cannot withstand the physical requirements can still pass (recommendation 5.2).
- Redesign flight suits so that they ‘conform to the female body shape’ (recommendation 5.4).
- Allow females to have shorter return of service obligations to the RAAF than males (recommendation 6.1).
- Train men to stop being upset that they are required to serve in the RAAF longer than females and to instead become ‘advocates of gender inclusivity’ (recommendation 6.2).
- Adjust posting procedures across the entire Defence Force to allow female pilots returning from maternity leave extra flexibility (recommendation 6.4).
- Train extra female pilots to cater for the requirements of maternity leave (recommendation 6.6).
Remember, these recommendations have all been accepted and are now being implemented across the RAAF.
And it seems that Kate Jenkins is putting ‘discrimination’ back into the role of Sex Discrimination Commissioner.
Males in the Air Force are now second class Defence members. Whether they work in recruiting or fly an F-18, females will be prioritised over them, regardless of whether they are actually capable of the job.
Females will also be given favourable treatment when it comes to recruitment, posting, leave and training opportunities. Not because they are better at being fighter pilots. But because they can’t make the grade that already exists.
It is being lowered too. And this all means that qualified, motivated, patriotic blokes will end up missing out on jobs in the RAAF as a result of Kate Jenkins’ recommendations.
And for the males that do make it through, they will also be required to watch as females are allowed to walk away from the RAAF and into higher paid civilian roles before they can.
This point also needs making:
The AHRC is an organisation that has already hounded one Australian to his grave. And now it has virtually been given command of the institution meant to protect the rest of us.
Heaven help us all.
And while we cannot blame the AHRC for being a bunch of military numpties, no one should forgive the RAAF top brass for handing over control of the nation’s air defences to a bunch of social engineers living in ivory towers inside the Canberra bubble of insanity.