In the light of September 11 and the Bali bombing, Australia is reassessing its strategic and security focus. Our defence forces must rethink their approaches, with the new concerns of the threat of terrorism and the RAAF’s aging aircraft. At the same time, science offers a new world of unmanned aircraft, space defence systems and new radar that will change the air forces of tomorrow.
The series explores technological and scientific issues, and the difficulties of selecting and developing highly trained personnel and retaining them (staff costing up to $9 million each to train). It investigates how psychology is used to select pilots and how aviation medicine shapes their training.
Australia's air force must give the government a plan of action, for their future, by 2006. This plan must cope with a new style of war, particularly post September 11, and the increasing demands made by Government.
The air force is about to scrap 71 fighters and 33 long-range bombers. By 2015 most of these aircraft will be in the junkyard. The RAAF has 4 years to decide what will be in the air in the middle of the 21st century. Basically the issue is how to keep up with the USA. To be effective as an ally the RAAF must have compatible technology. But can Australia afford it, and is the new weapons technology the answer when it comes to maintaining peace and protection for the Australian people?
The biggest problem facing the RAAF is hanging on to its best people. The RAAF has just under 13,500 men and women who work as pilots, research scientists, engineers and skilled tradespeople. The skills and intelligence they display is also required in higher paid activities such as IT and computing on many levels.
The realities of “command and control”, combat and weapon systems. Reveals the RAAF’s ability to keep largely outdated aircrafts flying. It explores the multi-billion dollar choices that confront the RAAF. They have to decide by 2006, what will replace its jets and bombers. It might be the stealth bombers like the F22 Raptor, or unmanned aircraft like the Global Hawk.
The era of the fighter pilot will be over by 2050. In the last decade wars have erupted in Central Asia, the Middle East and Central Europe. With each new eruption the technology becomes cheaper, more intelligent and more destructive: unmanned aircraft; laser weapons; future aircrafts. Despite the growth in intelligent destruction Australia is still one of the safest places on earth, and there is no military threat predicted in the foreseeable future.