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Author Topic: Australia commits to buying new fighters  (Read 5381 times)

Offline Gripen

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Australia commits to buying new fighters
« on: November 25, 2009, 10:39:40 AM »
 AUSTRALIA is set to buy an initial block of 14advanced Joint Strike Fighters (JSFs) without any clear idea of thefinal price or whether the aircraft will deliver the full range ofpromised capabilities.             The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning JSF remains in development with no aircraft yet in service and none flyingwith the complete array of fully operational mission systems.
But the Government has expressed a high level of confidence that JSFs will deliver as promised.
Defence Minister John Faulkner said it was clear the US wasabsolutely committed to making JSFs succeed and Australia's decisionfollowed years of evaluation and planning by all nine countriesinvolved in the JSF development program.
"Defence has done more analysis on this platform than any other platform in the acquisition history of the ADF,'' he said.
Under the deal announced today, the Government has approvedacquisition of 14 JSF aircraft plus the infrastructure required forinitial training and testing, at an estimated cost of some $3.2bn.
The first of these aircraft will arrive in 2014.
In 2012 the Government will decide on additional aircraft to make upthree operational and a training squadron, totalling 72 aircraft. Thefirst squadron will be ready for operations in 2018.

A fourth squadron, taking total aircraft to around 100, will be considered later.
Senator Faulkner acknowledged that cost and schedule risks would remain as JSF was developed.
"However, any risks will be carefully measured, mitigated and managed to ensure that the Australian Defence Force has leading edge capability,'' he said.
The JSF is an advanced fifth generation combat aircraft which willreplace Australia's ageing F-111 strike bombers and F/A-18 Hornetfighter-bombers.
The JSF project has faced frequent criticism that its aircraft willbe expensive, will arrive late and won't be as good as promised,especially in the all important but highly classified stealthcapability.
Australia Defence Association (ADA) executive director Neil Jamessaid this decision was inevitable but there was still a large elementof strategic and technical risk.
"We are still in effect putting all our eggs in one basket. Shouldthe JSF's one real advantage, which is its stealth, be defeated in thenext 15-20 years, we will have a bit of a problem,'' he said.
Mr James said the ADA had always been unconvinced of the logicbehind a one aircraft air combat fleet and would have preferred JSFsplus some F-22 Raptors, should the US have agreed to sell their mostadvanced fighter.
Lockheed Martin Australia chief executive Paul Johnson said thissecond pass decision marked a major milestone in Australia's commitmentto recapitalise its fighter force.
He said the JSF program continued to progress with four aircraft undergoing flight testing and more in production.
"We remain committed to Australia's requirements and are confidentwe will meet the government's request for the delivery of the initialtranche of 14 F-35 Lightnings in the time frame nominated,'' he said.
Australian Industry (AI) Group chief executive Heather Ridout saidthe announcement was good news for the Australian aerospace industry,particularly for small and medium sized businesses involved in the JSFprogram. "The AI group will be looking to the government to maximiseAustralian defence industry's involvement in the program, includingaccessing the Lockheed martin global supply chain,'' she said.

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,26400749-29277,00.html

Offline RecceJet

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Re: Australia commits to buying new fighters
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2009, 10:52:41 AM »
The article I read on this quoted Faulkner stating that the JSF will take Australia to 2030. It also mentioned that the first squadron won't be operational until 2021. That's $16Bn for nine years. Not exactly value for money...
« Last Edit: November 25, 2009, 12:14:52 PM by RecceJet »

Offline Webmaster

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Re: Australia commits to buying new fighters
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2009, 03:17:55 PM »
It probably needs a capability upgrade in 2030, but they are built to last 25-30 years. Maybe it will need to soldier on even longer as the next thing (unmanned?) runs into the same troubled development, funding and requirements ordeal.

Is it me or is the JSF boring? Maybe it's because all the speculation and criticism based on costs and delays. I mean, wasn't it clear from the start that it will be overbudget and late, cut in numbers and ongoing uncertainty about its capabilities. According to a defence analyst here, the way JSF is doing now (politically, budgetary and development wise) is very similar to the F-16's procurement, which also ended up costing 3 to 5 times as much as originally anticipated. And there are plenty of other examples. It just wasn't that big a deal back then because of the Cold War.

It's funny that as an alternative to the JSF, the independent 'experts' want the F-22. Which is also expensive, will run into delays when you want your own industry to produce parts for it, and also relies on stealth that may "be defeated in the next 15-20 years". Furthermore it's more expensive to operate, support, maintain and upgrade. And finally, it's capabilities especially outside the Sukhoi-killing sphere, are just as questionable. Putting "eggs in one basket" is just the way it has to be in light of today's defence budgets.
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Offline shawn a

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Re: Australia commits to buying new fighters
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2009, 05:40:32 PM »
Wouldn't it be horrible if world peace broke out and no country needed such advanced warplanes?
You folks probably know my opinion of the JSF. Aussies, you're gonna need tankers--lots of them, and some kind of capable fighters to cover the chihuahua's rear end as they head home after dropping that HUGE ordinance load they carry.
Don't do it!!

 



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