posted on Jan, 27 2009 @ 10:14 PM
OK Folks, let's get a few BASIC concepts in place and re-assess the question!
Firstly, the BASIC reason military forces renew and replace equipment falls into one of a very few situations (let's face it, the public, who pay for
all this won't stand for spending money just for the sake of spending money - and rightly so) ........
1. The existing equipment is no longer technically capable of meeting existing or projected threats - this is very much a matter of perception
concerning projected threats and all manufacturers (who must make a profit to exist) will ALWAYS tend to tell you that the potential treat is becoming
more sophisticated or of larger proportions - whether in reality it is or isn't! History is strewn with arms races based on false perceptions and
over estimations of what the other guy has, or indeed, what the other guy's real intentions are.
2. Existing equipment is running out of life and must either be rebuilt or replaced. This is the one that appears to be overlooked to a great extent
on this kind of forum. Everything has a useful life, after which it breaks or is too expensive to maintain (ie:- it is cheaper to buy a newer product
- with better capabilities for less that it would cost to maintain the existing stuff),
3. New (and I mean genuinely new) technology which alters the way in which conflicts are conducted and therefore new (and different) capabilities are
required to defend one's self, or
4. It is economically or politically important to maintain the industry and/or its workforce, and therefore it is worth investing in new product just
to keep those companies (and their design and construction skills) intact.
There are virtually NO OTHER VALID REASONS for purchasing any particular system or product (indeed this goes for just about any government
expenditure, doesn't it).
Now, returning to the original question....... Where would Australia be if the JSF was to be canceled?
OK, there are two parts to the answer.....
1. JSF won't be canceled! Why, because the useful life of F-15, A-10 and F-16 are VERY quickly running out (Reason 3 above). (In USAF service the
F-35 is designed and intended to replace the F-16, specifically). So, unless the perceived potential threat level is reduced (remember it is a
perception only) something WITH THE CAPABILITY of F-35 must be produced - in the required numbers - in the appropriate time - to replace those
airframes that are running out of life. Since there are no other airframes on the horizon that fit that solution then there's your answer - IT HAS
The other reasons for purchase are also pretty compelling in this case - if JSF were to be canceled there would be loss of jobs (which equals loss of
skills as these people go off and get other jobs) and possibly even the closure of large companies (loss of capability in a political sense).
Of course, if the POTENTIAL THREAT is down graded then perhaps JSF (in US service) might be able to be canceled and replaced with more F-22s, F-15s,
BUT, down-grading a potential threat is a POLITICAL DECISION. Essentially assessing a potential threat is something done by think-tanks with the final
decision and stance being determined by the political administration, so considering how volatile political decisions are, anything could really
happen. America could well decide tomorrow that China, Iran and North Korea are your NBFs (New Best Friends) and who are any of the rest of us to say
that it isn't so!!!!!! In some ways, even the public statement of such a thing can tend to make it so - just the same as publicly calling someone
your enemy tends to make it so!!! (Does America buy arms to defend itself against the possibility of the UK attacking America - well no - the UK is a
friend of America - consider if China, Iran and North Korea WERE friends of America - they have been in living memory! - the MIC would have to dream
up another potential enemy, wouldn't they)
2. Where would cancellation leave Australia ? Answer - exactly where we are right now!
There MAY be a PERCEPTION that Australia NEEDS greater technology. You can probably debate that for the next 100 years, suffice to say that it is all
based upon a PERCEPTION, OK.
Australia DOES need new aircraft because our existing ones are running out of life. So we DO HAVE TO PURCHASE.
Now here's your real answer to your question......
What Australia will buy what is available to us, that we can afford (hopefully) and that will do the job that we need done! If JSF is canceled,
Australia will buy SOMETHING ELSE (because we have to) and that, like the US, could be F-15's, F-22's, etc, or unlike the US, could be Typhoon,
Rafale or Gripen, etc. What that would be exactly depends on exactly what is on offer, how it fits the job needing to be done, and naturally, what
sort of deal we can get on it!
Basically you do what you can with what is available to you - the rest is BS!
The Winged Wombat
[edit on 27/1/09 by The Winged Wombat]