The flawed assumptions in the piece; there are a few.
"Australian Defence Force planners were no doubt aware of the potential risks when they first assessed the JSF as a replacement for the Air Force's front-line F/A-18 aircraft, but probably reasoned that the advantages of signing up as a development partner (with the opportunity to bid for sub-contract work) outweighed the hazards."
What proof is there that they were properly aware? Was the indicator the cardboard F-35 cutouts handed out to kids at air shows by the DMO? Or maybe it was all the previous noise? How does rent-seeking outweight technical hurdles? Answer; it can't.
"There are also concerns the long delays have allowed manufacturers of other fifth-generation fighters to peg back the dominance that the F-35 was intended to confer on the air forces that acquired it'"
Garbled in transmission. And, the F-35 only qualifies as a "fifth-generation fighter" in the eyes of the marketing pukes.
"This is a somewhat academic question as far as the RAAF is concerned since Australia has too much invested in the JSF to consider alternatives. Defence planners and the Federal Government will be hoping that US Congress comes to that realisation as well."
There isn't much "academic" about worries when engineers state that the aircraft is not survivable, supportable, lethal or affordable. The idea that Australia has too much invested to consider alternatives has no fact to back it up.
There certainly has been a lot of money not so much "invested" but wasted. Some billions have been thrown away. When you consider all the junket trips to Fort Worth; flawed industry decisions to join based on the words of a Ponzi scheme; the wasted money on Hornet upgrades, 6 billion plus on the Super Slow Hornet (another strategically worthless platform for Australia); billions and severe strategic capability loss from retiring the long-range strike power of the F-111 based on a lie.
With that, we do not need to waste tens of billions more on fielding the F-35 which will not be able to stand up to Pacific Rim threats.
Calling all of that an "investment" is far fetched.It is in fact a grand farce with taxpayer's money.
Hope on the U.S. Congress? How about hoping on our elected officials to ask better questions in Senate estimates?
"With luck, Australia will get something close to the numbers of F-35s required to replace its ageing F/A-18 Hornet fleet at a realistic price and in time avoid the need for expensive contingency measures. But there will be little change left over from $20 billion. It is another (expensive) reminder of the fundamental requirement for the Australian Defence Force to have back-up plans when buying equipment is still at the design and development stage."
This from the editorial board is also garbled in transmission. "Luck" has nothing to do with it. Depending on a strategically unskilled thought process from Defence all of these years along with the mass amounts of groupthink, mean that the real hazard to the Australian taxpayer is not so much a future external enemy.
The real threat is Defence which squanders billions on poor decisions. A future enemy has easy strategic planning with senior Australian Defence leadership (and their partner in crime, the DMO) on their side.