Reader Comments on Aardvark Daily 8 May 2001
Note: the comments below are the unabridged
submissions of readers and do
not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher.
From: Kane For : The Editor (for publication) Subj: RNZAF A few years ago I was a Sergeant in my local RNZAF Air Training Cadet Core ( ATC ), everyone I knew wanted to be a fighter pilot, it was a lifetime goal for the whole Squadron. Now, without any New Zealand strike force that goal is to be lost. So what happens to Cadet numbers around the country ? less and less kids will join up, increasing the number of ill disciplined kids on the street, after all, in any Cadet Core, personal discipline is always enforced. From: Andrew Johnson For : The Editor (for publication) Subj: Air defence Unfortunately, you've overlooked the main issue. Do we NEED to run a strike jet squadron? Defence of the region? What are you talking about? The jets we currently have are useless for strike capability. Assuming the region includes PNG, Indonesia, and as far north as even Singapore, we are completely pointless. All of the countries in the area hold a strike capability that could be used as cover or defence in support of ground troops. We have to keep in mind (as many of the so called defence analysts - a vested interest if ever I've seen one - keep saying) that NZ would never have the ability to go and wage war on someone. We have no reason or interest in doing so. We would only ever project power overseas as part of a multinational task force. As much as this may piss the Aussies off, they must accept the lion's share of responsiblity for air support - it is unreasonable to expect NZ to spend so disproportionally to keep her allies happy! New fighter aircraft, either budget ones from the ol' USSR or new strike fighters (hell, even good helicopter gunships) will suck up money that NZ simply doesn't have to deal with non-existant contingencies. Aardvark Replies: Don't be too hard on the old Skyhawks -- remember how much damage was inflicted against British Naval vessels off the Falklands by lowly old Skyhawks with Exocet missiles. You'll also note that many pilots still hold these aged relics in high regard and they're often used in a training role against F15's and F16's. Remember -- NZ is well beyond the easy target range of any traditional jet fighters so any threat we may face will likely be sea-based. However I agree that it's time the Skyhawks were junked. The question is -- how do we replace their functionality? Let's be honest, if China decided that NZ would make a nice strategic foot-hold in the South Pacific they'd only have to fill Auckland and Wellington harbours with four or five submarines and we'd all have to start waving white flags. And this notion that we have no enemies in the region is a little too trite. I don't believe that the USA considered Japan to be an enemy (or even a neighbour) until the attack on Pearl Harbour. Then there's the issue of our commitment to our allies. There were more than a handful of Kiwi pilots who flew in WW2 and the Battle of Britain. If we have no fighter-jets, how are we going to train pilots to do the same if our allies call on our support? We must remember that BECAUSE we can't defend ourselves we have an even greater responsibility to show our allies (the countries we will expect to come to our aid) that we're doing our bit to help them. This means that we must be able to supply the real fighting men of the 21st century -- pilots! From: Bede For : The Editor (for publication) Subj: jet fighters yes i regually have this discusion that we should be purchasing sukhoi jet fighters, In alot of circumstances these planes are designed to destroy there american equivalent. I also think we could even "barter" with russia where by we give them x dollars worth of meat and dairy products. and we also get them to station technicians here to help maintain them. of course all of this might piss america off to no end, but there you go.. Comrade Bede From: Grant For : The Editor (for publication) Subj: Scrap the combat air-wing "In fact I would go so far as to say that APCs are simply a convenient (for the enemy) way of packaging troops for incineration by enemy bombers and helicopter gunships" Apparently not - there are plenty of solders serving in peacekeeping duties who owe their lives to vehicle armour - afterall most UN troops killed have died via rifle file, machetes, land-mines etc rather than any smart or long- range weapons. Remember NZ forces have been deployed overseas dozens of times over the last 30 years - almost every time APC and helicopters were part of the mix while fixed wing combat aircraft have never been risked. That in a nutshell is why we should be spending money on what we use rather than what looks good on telly. It also indicates that our 32+ year old helicopters and Hercules (which are used day-in, day out) should be updated ASAP rather than the combat aircraft. Suggestions? Leasing aircraft from Australia or paying for pilots to train with the Aussies (ie reverse the current arrangement where we station aircraft in Australia) is a good & obviously solution. Would also help air-force morale if the trainers where kept & elite NZ pilots get to fly (Australian) F18’s or Hawks. Buying Russian aircraft on the other hand is a very bad idea – they aren’t compatible with our partners, are just as expensive (or more expensive) to run as the Skyhawks and even aircraft such as MiG 27’s can be sitting ducks (three Serbian MiG 27’s were shot-down by NATO – MiG 21’s didn’t even get off the ground). Basically, Russian cars are cheap as well, but I bet you don't drive one. BTW – one country capable of invading NZ, that has actually invaded other countries on a frequent basis over the last 30 or so years is the US – lets stay on side with themNow Have Your Say
. As for spending money to the arts – well, we have to have a culture or society we want to defend otherwise why not sell NZ to any ‘invading’ force? On your further comments – when/if the Chinese invade Taiwan then you might see a rapid purchase of air-wing ;-), but in the meantime if subs turn up in our harbour then wave back – they can’t sink NZ. On the other hand, a truck launched Exocet or Harpoon can still sink any incoming ship while it’s damn hard to sink or shoot down a truck from a ship Also, the real fighting men and women (!) of the 21st century will continue to be techo’s backed up by the grunts with bad haircuts and rifles. From: Andy Gardner For : The Editor (for publication) Subj: Armoured Troop Carriers Those new Armoured Troop Carriers AREN'T for repelling foreign assailants, you dummies!!! From: Jason Fame For : The Editor (for publication) Subj: NZ Defence New Zealand's fighters were never intended to defend NZ from invasion. We don't have to worry about that, what we have to worry about is keeping our freedoms. Which in practical terms means protecting our commerce and friendly governments. We maintained fighters because they required trained pilots. In the event of a major conflict we would be able to supply the most important component (the pilot) to the better equiped forces of our allies. The Labour government has decided that NZ is better served by better equiping our Army and Navy for the work NZ does itself. The real issue with NZ's defence is our budget which is less than half what it needs to be to give us many options. It is nonsense to suggest we can maintain any sort of air combat capability with the budget our military has. Both National and Labour admit this, but National having the luxury of not being in office feels free to criticise Labour who has the real problem of finding funds. Our troops do go into the field and do stand into danger. They have an embarrassing lack of equipment with which to function and that must be corrected. We cannot afford the resources to equip them and maintain fighter aircraft we never use.
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