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Output Four: Air Force Capabilities

Capability Performance Information

Performance Targets

Capability: Strike and Reconnaissance | Tactical Fighter | Strategic Surveillance | Maritime Patrol | Air Lift | Combat Support of Air Operations |

Capability for Strike and Reconnaissance

Provides F-111 aircraft, crews and weapon systems at the level of capability required to perform strike operations against land and maritime targets, to provide support for ground forces, and to conduct counter air and air reconnaissance tasks.

Performance Targets Performance
Quality:
Achieve levels of preparedness directed by the Chief of the Defence Force for military response options with a warning time of less than 12 months. Partially Achieved. At the start of the period, F-111 capability was restricted by ageing aircraft issues. Preparedness levels improved steadily over the year, and by the end of 2002-03 were approaching required levels. Of particular note was the strong performance of the F-111 at the 'Red Flag' exercise in September 2002. During this exercise, the F-111 was the only capability to meet all sortie requirements and the crews performed above expectations.
Achieve a level of training that maintains core skills and professional standards across all warfare areas. Partially Achieved. Limited aircraft availability restricted training during the early parts of the year, mitigated by the availability of the simulator, which has recently been upgraded. This limitation was largely remedied by the end of the reporting period.
Quantity:
17 F-111C 17 F-111C.
4 RF-111C 4 RF-111C.
14 F-111G - 2,600 flying hours 7 F-111G. In addition, 2 aircraft have been reallocated as breakdown spares and a further 5 aircraft have been quarantined in long-term storage, in line with the logistics support concept.
2,779 hours (107 per cent) were achieved as a result of earlier-than-anticipated recovery of aircraft availability.

Capability for Tactical Fighter

Provides F/A-18 Hornet aircraft, crews and weapon systems at the level of capability required to perform operations to support control of the air, provide support for ground forces, strike against targets in both land and maritime environments and provide limited air reconnaissance capabilities. Hawk lead-in fighters and PC-9 forward air control aircraft contribute to this capability.

Performance Targets Performance
Quality:
Achieve levels of preparedness directed by the Chief of the Defence Force for military response options with a warning time of less than 12 months. Achieved. Demonstration of preparedness levels was evidenced in the deployment of F/A-18 aircraft to the Middle East for combat operations in Iraq.
Achieve a level of training that maintains core skills and professional standards across all warfare areas. Substantially Achieved. While minor skills degradation for some Australia based F/A-18 crews eventuated as a result of high operational tempo and deployment of key training equipment, a high level of training and professional standards was maintained throughout. The availability of Hawk lead-in fighters showed steady improvement.
Maintain a substantial contribution to the war on terror. Maintained. The deployment of personnel and aircraft to support Operation Slipper, and then Operations Bastille/Falconer, was a substantial commitment.
Continue upgrades to F/A-18. Hornet upgrades have been continuing as planned.
Quantity:
71 F/A-18 - 12,500 flying hours 71 F/A-18 - 14,077 hours (113 per cent) were achieved. The significant increase in the rate of effort was due to support for Operations Bastille and Falconer.
33 Hawk - 7,100 flying hours 33 Hawk - 6,691 hours (94 per cent) were achieved. The rate of effort has been slowly increasing towards desired levels, but aircraft serviceability remains below desired levels due to teething issues introducing the new capability.
4 P-C9/A(F) (forward air control role only) - 1,030 flying hours 4 PC-9/A(F) (forward air control role only) - 610 hours (59 per cent) achieved due to the inability to generate sufficient serviceable aircraft and high personnel operational tempo due to personnel deployments.

Capability for Strategic Surveillance

Provides sensors and battlespace management elements as support for wide-area aerospace surveillance, air defence, airspace control, and battlespace management.

Performance Targets Performance
Quality:
Achieve levels of preparedness directed by the Chief of the Defence Force for military response options with a warning time of less than 12 months. Substantially Achieved. The reduced reliability of ageing mobile radars precluded preparedness levels from being fully achieved.
Achieve a level of training that maintains core skills and professional standards across all warfare areas. Substantially Achieved. Shortfalls in some personnel specialisations and musterings have continued to affect skills and standards in some areas.
Maintain a substantial contribution to the war on terror. Maintained. The deployment of personnel to support Operation Falconer/Catalyst late in the year was a substantial commitment and is recognised by our coalition partners as a very successful operation.
Quantity:
10 air traffic control radars 9 fixed air traffic control radars and 1 mobile air traffic control radar system were in operation.
3 tactical air defence radars 2 tactical air defence radars. Obsolescence issues resulted in the decommissioning of 1 tactical air defence radar system.
Over the horizon radar network including 2 over the horizon radar, known as the Jindalee Operational Radar Network, 1 over the horizon radar, known as the Jindalee Facility Alice Springs, and the Jindalee Operational Radar Network Co-ordination Centre operating 16 hours x 7 days x 47 weeks per year, in addition to research and development and other activities. The Jindalee Operational Radar Network commenced operations in May 2003. Network usage for the period was 100 per cent of assigned hours. The Jindalee Facility Alice Springs achieved over 5,136 hours in total, of which 2,638 hours were operations. This represented a 51 per cent operational availability, above the required 35 per cent operational target, while still achieving required research and development activities.
3 tactical operations centres 1 fixed and 1 mobile tactical operations centre available. Obsolescence issues resulted in the decommissioning of a fixed tactical operations centre, while operation of the mobile tactical operations centre remained restricted.
National and tactical air traffic control Provision of tactical air traffic control services in the roles of mobile air operations teams, airspace control element, mobile airspace control element and amphibious airspace control element. Activity levels met planned requirements for tactical air traffic control during current operations.

Capability for Maritime Patrol

Provides P-3 aircraft, crews and weapon systems at the level of capability required to conduct maritime surveillance and reconnaissance operations, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, maritime strike, and search and survivor assistance activities.

Performance Targets Performance
Quality:
Achieve levels of preparedness directed by the Chief of the Defence Force for military response options with a warning time of less than 12 months. Substantially Achieved. Preparedness targets were met or exceeded with the exception of requirements to cater for more complex threats.
Achieve a level of training that maintains core skills and professional standards across all warfare areas. Substantially Achieved. High operational tempo in the surveillance role and transition activities to the new aircraft reduced the capacity to complete all training activities in the high-end war-fighting roles.
Maintain a substantial contribution to the war on terror. Maintained. The deployment of personnel and aircraft to support Operations Slipper and Falconer was a substantial and successful commitment.
Maintain high levels of preparedness for surveillance operations, including search and rescue. Maintained. The P-3 Orion fleet was substantially committed to multiple surveillance operations throughout the period. The Air Force maintained the search and rescue requirement between P-3 Orion and C-130 Hercules aircraft.
Quantity:
22 P-3 Orion aircraft - 9,600 flying hours 22 P-3 Orion aircraft - 8,172 hours (85 per cent) achieved. The shortfall was the result of high levels of preparedness being maintained and the inability to generate sufficient aircraft due to the high operational tempo in conjunction with transition activities linked to the introduction of the AP-3.
Continue introduction of AP-3 through the upgrade program 8 AP-3 were introduced. This was slightly ahead of schedule as the final aircraft was not due for introduction until late 2003.

Capability for Air Lift

Provides airlift aircraft, crews and weapon systems at the level of capability required to provide air logistics support, airborne operations, aeromedical evacuation, special operations, search and survivor assistance, VIP flights, air-to-air refuelling, navigator training support, and surveillance operations.

Performance Targets Performance
Quality:
Achieve levels of preparedness directed by the Chief of the Defence Force for military response options with a warning time of less than 12 months. Substantially Achieved. Commitments to ongoing operations have been maintained, although some of the more demanding preparedness targets were met with some restrictions, primarily as a result of aircraft availability.
Achieve a level of training that maintains core skills and professional standards across all warfare areas. Substantially Achieved. Some tactical roles involving the C-130J were still under development.
Maintain high levels of preparedness for search and rescue and surveillance operations. Maintained. The P-3's high operational tempo required the transfer of some activities to the C-130 fleet. Nevertheless, high levels of preparedness for search and rescue and surveillance operations were maintained.
Maintain a substantial contribution to the war on terror. Maintained. The deployment of personnel and aircraft to support Operations Slipper and then Falconer was a substantial and successful commitment.
Quantity:
24 C-130 - 14,000 flying hours 24 C-130 - 13,622 hours (97 per cent) achieved.
4 B707 - 2,150 flying hours 4 B707 - 1,377 hours (64 per cent) achieved. The low rate of effort reflected emerging ageing aircraft issues exacerbated by the high operational tempo early in the reporting period and the requirement for a extended remediation program for the two aircraft returning from Kyrgyzstan.
14 Caribou - 5,080 flying hours 14 Caribou - 4,332 hours (85 per cent) achieved. The rate of effort was less than forecast but slightly improved over previous years. Reduced availability due to ageing aircraft issues and delays in scheduled maintenance continued to affect availability.
2 Boeing 737 BBJ - 1,200 flying hours 2 Boeing 737 BBJ - 970 hours (81 per cent) achieved. The rate of effort was driven primarily by non-Defence related VIP commitments.
3 CL604 Challenger - 2,100 flying hours 3 CL604 Challenger - 1,601 hours (76 per cent) achieved. The rate of effort was driven primarily by non-Defence related VIP commitments.
3 Falcon - 1,000 flying hours 3 Falcon - 681 hours (68 per cent) achieved. The rate of effort was driven primarily by non-Defence related VIP commitments.
Withdraw remaining Falcon VIP aircraft All remaining Falcon aircraft were withdrawn from service and returned to their owner by December 2002.
Introduce remaining Special Purpose aircraft The remaining three Special Purpose aircraft were introduced into service during 2002-03.

Capability for Combat Support of Air Operations

Provides operations support activity required to support both expeditionary air bases within Australia and overseas in contingencies, and main operating bases day-to-day in Australia.

Performance Targets Performance
Quality:
Achieve levels of preparedness directed by the Chief of the Defence Force for military response options with a warning time of less than 12 months. Achieved. Achievement of preparedness levels was evidenced in the support of a number of deployments enabling combat operations in the Middle East and continued operations in East Timor.
Achieve a level of training that maintains core skills and professional standards across all warfare areas. Substantially Achieved. Continued high operational tempo prevented full achievement of training requirements.
Quantity:
2 combat support wings;
1 Expeditionary Combat Support Wing;
1 combat reserve wing;
1 air field defence wing; and
1 health services wing.
Partially Achieved. Overall personnel numbers across the output improved to acceptable levels, although personnel shortfalls in some specialist areas persisted due to delays in commercialisation initiatives and personnel impacts from delays to projects.
Increase personnel and introduce new or upgraded equipment into service, including new equipment provided under East Timor remediation Substantially Achieved. Most significant equipment deficiencies have been addressed.