Australia to Join JSF Production Phase
On November 10, Australian Defence Minister Dr. Brendan Nelson announced that the Australian Government has given First Pass approval for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The minister plans to sign the JSF Production Sustainment and Follow-on Development (PSFD) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in December 2006, once final administrative arrangements are in place. [DID: the MoU was signed on Dec 11/06].
This decision has seen a good deal of controversy lately, to say the least. DID’s “Retired RAAF Vice-Marshal: Abandon F-35, Buy F-22s (updated),” which includes a link to a guest article by recently-retired RAAF AVM Peter Criss as well as statements and proposed policies from Australia’s opposition party, an in-depth strategic report arguing against the F-35A, Australian DoD submissions in favor, et. al. It will give readers a solid background re: the arguments and political currents in play.
The criticism is apparently having some effect, as the minister’s statement added that: “To cover against potential delays that can occur with projects of this scope, the Government is looking at cost effective options to ensure Australia maintains air superiority during the transition period.”
- DID Spotlight – Australia to Buy 24 Super Hornets As Interim Gap-Filler to JSF? Yes, for a total program cost of A$ 6 billion.
- Australian DoD Defence Magazine (February 2007) – Australia enters next phase of the JSF Program. Includes additional details and background.