Thursday, the U.S. Senate had a bad time receiving the latest troubling news on the F-35. How did Mr. Smith's office respond? With pure spin.
A spokesman for Defence Minister Stephen Smith says the US senate review is "standard stuff" and the cost per unit will be lower as the program goes on.
But he said the cost of the initial 14 planes, at a cost of $3.2 billion or $228 million per aircraft, was a necessary cost to buy early-build units so pilots could be trained on the advanced fighter-bomber.
He said the balance of the order would be from aircraft made later in the production cycle when prices would be lower.
Below are some links to read up on for those that care. After reading, then consider if you think the Defence Minister is being well advised. Me? I think he is not only being poorly advised, but deceived. Faith-based project management won't get us a useful fighter force.
(click on images to make them larger)
Consider the next slide when Defence tells you they want jets early or even that they want them by 2018. What will we be buying? Under-tested mistake-jets that need lots of fix-it work because the aircraft have gone into production well before the engineers have figured everything out.
Australia should put a hold on any big dollar weapon systems like the F-35 Joint Strike Failure or the fantasy-by-the-dozen new submarines. Defence/DMO does not have the decision making capacity or the true engineering foresight needed. If the Defence industry wants to make money, they better put as their prime interest, aggressive lobbying for massive change in the moribund Defence bureaucracy.
Australia should not pay for this current environment of mass stupidity in Defence decision making.
Testimony from the U.S. Senate hearing on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Thursday, 19 May 2011.
-U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO)
Statement from Senator John McCain with selected questions and answers.
An Analysis of Defence Materiel Organisation Major Projects Management and What Needs to be Fixed