The Commonwealth has revealed few changes in its first planned six monthly update of the 2009 Defence Capability Plan (DCP).
Many of the changes in the updated version reflect projects that have matured to first pass approval since the previous version was published in July 2009, including the seven new CH-47F Chinooks to be acquired under Air 9000 5C and the Phase 8 Naval Combat Helicopter acquisition AA reported on February 25, the first 14 F-35A JSFs to be acquired under Air 6000 Phase 2A/2B, and the Air 5428 fixed wing Pilot Training Scheme.
Other changes to aviation related projects include:
– Air 8000 Phase 1, the previously announced plan to acquire two additional C-130J Hercules transports as part replacements for the ageing C-130H fleet and Caribou tactical airlifter. The timing of this phase has been pushed back by about two years, ostensibly to better align with the Phase 2 Battle Field Airlifter (BFA) decision which is due to be made in 2012-13 to 2014-15, with service entry in the 2015 to 2017 period. Previously planned to enter service before the BFA, the Phase 1 C-130Js are now planned to follow the BFA by about 12 months.
– Air 5416 Phase 4B2, the project to equip the RAAF’s C-130J fleet with LAIRCM (Large Aircraft Infra Red Countermeasures) systems has seen its planned service entry deferred by about two years from 2012 to 2014 “to align with the anticipated availability of technology.”
– Air 9000 SCAP2 was the second element of Navy’s Seahawk Capability Assurance Program which was designed to address Seahawk obsolescence issues including replacement of the main mission computer and display generator unit. But with first pass approval of the Phase 8 Naval Combat helicopter coming on February 25 and that aircraft expected to enter service from 2014, SCAP2 has been cancelled as the aircraft’s existing systems have been deemed as suitable.
– JP2070 Phase 4 was tasked with assessing whether the AP-3C needed a new lightweight torpedo to supplement the Mk46 torpedo currently in service. The EuroTorp MU90 was originally selected to fulfil this role with a planned IOC of 2011, but this project has now been cancelled as the Mk46 has been deemed as adequate until the planned replacement for the AP-3C, the Boeing P-8A, enters service from 2017.
“Changes made to the Public Defence Capability Plan 2009 are the result of decisions taken by government since July 2009, up to 31 December 2009,” Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science, Greg Combet said in a statement. “The DCP will continue to be adjusted over time due to various factors that emerge as the capability development process progresses, including: changing strategic priorities and economic circumstances, the maturity of projects and the evolution of technology in the options under consideration, and operational experience.”