This report looks at the RAAF approach to the transformation of jointness as they prepare to introduce the F-35 into the force.
The Aussies have a modern air fleet, with Super Hornets, KC-30A tankers, the Wedgetail E-7 battle management system Heron UAVs, and C-17s, recently in service and are seeing Growlers, the Triton UAV, the P-8 and the F-35 coming into the fleet shortly.
But no platform fights alone, and the Aussies are looking at how to rework their forces to shape a more interactive and enabled force. The F-35 is seen as not a replacement aircraft, but one which takes the integrated enablement of the force to the next level, but that will not happen without the transformation of the RAAF and with it of the ADF.
The Williams Foundation of Canberra, Australia held a one day seminar/workshop on Plan Jericho on 6 August 2015, which featured presentations from the RAAF and industry as well as from the USAF looking at the way ahead.
Former Air Vice Marshal John Blackburn, one of the key stalwarts of the Plan Jericho effort, introduced the session. Blackburn hammered home really the most significant and challenging point – it is about design driven innovation, not simply R and D, technology or mini-experiments driven.
Rather than piece-meal, bits and pieces of applications of technologies to platform modernization or patchwork modernization, Plan Jericho aimed at a different goal – design driven innovation.
Blackburn contrasted the network-centric efforts of the 1990s with what Plan Jericho had in mind. In the network centric effort, stove pipes were linked; it was about filling gaps, linking disparate systems, and getting as much connectivity as possible – with the basic operational mantra of the diverse platform drivers largely unchanged, namely to drive ahead with the diverse cultures, but better connected.
In contrast, Plan Jericho looked to design innovation and a way ahead, where connectivity could be built-in from the design to the delivery of capability, and whereby the operators would look at the effect which the force could deliver, not just their own platform set.