Here are a few erroneous claims Houston makes.
He claims we need the F-35 because it is a “generation five” kind of aircraft. This claim is in dispute.
He is happy with the Super Hornet purchase which was brought in under false colours as a gap filler to maintain air supremacy, yet, when the then Defence Minister Mr. Nelson made the snap decision, Houston's input as well as that of the RAAF boss at the time was minimised. The RAAF boss at the time stated in front of our elected officials that if the F-35 was late, our existing legacy Hornets and F-111s could be life-extended. Surprise; and of course Mr. Nelson wanted to be his own man with Defence.
I can only salute AVM Houston and thank him for serving his country. That “thank you” is only in a very general sense as I believe he has helped contribute to the downfall of Australian military capability. Certainly, for air power issues, he was out of his depth both in his time as an RAAF boss and as the top boss. Well AVM Houston: We used to have alternatives.
I don’t really know what can be done with Australia’s Defence planning malaise except to start over with a blank sheet of paper. Let us take that opportunity now while we still have the chance.