posted on Feb, 15 2007 @ 08:21 AM
Firstly hello to all, yes thats right I am an Aussie newbie. Long time listener first time caller.
Right down to business, as some may know there has been an increasingly heated debate in Australia over the replacement of the F-111 and FA-18 with
the F-35. Now in recent weeks it has transpired that the defence minister has been looking at a $4 billionAU buy of 24 FA-18E/F to cover the F-111
retirement. This little gem has transpired because surprise surprise! the legacy hornet upgrade is getting in trouble, and the F-35's IOC,
capabillity and cost are looking more iffy. The Canberra defence mandarins want to retire the Pig's early and silence any debate about upgrading
them. It ironically is NOT the F-111's that are having fatigue issues but as I said the much younger hornets (which was one of the original
rationale's/excuses put forward. Infact the best the RAAF brass could come up with was that the F-111 MAY start to suffer from unknown/unspecified
fatigue issues. WOW! such an acurate and scientifically derived technical answer..).
Part two of this argument has been that many have felt the F-22 a better fit for the A2A portion of the RAAF's needs. Given the delays and probable
cost increases on the F-35 this has started to look more attractive. There is also a growing disquiet about the total lack of expert analysis of the
F-35 and more importantly its alternatives. Hypotheticaly for all we/they know there may be no need for a fighter manned or UCAV (I am not advocating
the New Zealand option guys!!). The point is you dont know what you need until you analyise, analyise and analyise some more.
And now the final act in a tragedy worthy of Shakespeare, the defence minister or his back room puppet masters, have revealed their final blow.
This week the minister disclosed a letter from US Deputy Secretary of Defence Gordon England that purports to say that the US wont sell us the F-22.
The only problems are that a)it doesn't and b)they did. Meaning the letter just refers to the US position regarding a sales drive (the so called
'Obey Amendment')NOT whether they actually would sell it to Australia, Canada or the UK. The second (b) problem is that the US has made repeated
attempts to inform the RAAF of the F-22's status and capabilities and these have been stonewalled by defence bureaucrats, looking to ride the F-35
gravy train. I mean since when has the US refused to sell a first tier ally like OZ or the UK equipment? To my knowledge this has never happened.
For those wishing to know more about this letter and the US DoD Integrated Product Team assessment of the F-22's exportability to Australia, please
check out the link
I am sure some of you are quite familliar with the Air Power Australia site. Please feel free to give me your conclusions, feelings or any new
reliable info on this little chestnut. But be gentle its my first day at ATS school.