The F-35 for Australia is now 9 years late as mentioned by some in 2002 or 7 years late according to some from the same time-frame. I suppose this all depends on if you are an F-35 optimist or not.
In 2002, the then Air Vice-Marshall Houston stated that the F-35 would be affordable because there were 3000 jets on the order-book.
No such "order-book" existed. But, there you are.
Defence is quick to claim this delay to the increasing federal budget woes. While it is true that the current ruling party seems to have no end to their spend-thrift ways, the F-35 is being delayed because it is unaffordable.
Healthy federal budget or no.
Here is a quick summary of the various claims of F-35 cost over the years:
“It’s about $37 million for the CTOL aircraft, which is the air force variant.”
- Colonel Dwyer Dennis, U.S. JSF Program Office brief to Australian journalists, 2002-
". . . US$40 million dollars . . "
-Senate Estimates/Media Air Commodore John Harvey, AM Angus Houston, Mr Mick Roche, USDM, 2003-
" . . US$45 million in 2002 dollars . ."
-JSCFADT/Senate Estimates, Air Commodore John Harvey, Mr Mick Roche, USDM, 2003/2004-
". . average unit recurring flyaway cost of the JSF will be around US$48 million, in 2002 dollars . . "
-Senate Estimates/Press Club Briefing, Air Commodore John Harvey, 2006
". . the JSF Price (for Australia) - US$55 million average for our aircraft . . in 2006 dollars . ."
-Senate Estimates/Media AVM John Harvey ACM Angus Houston, Nov. 2006-
“…DMO is budgeting around A$131 million in 2005 dollars as the unit procurement cost for the JSF. .”
-AVM John Harvey Briefing, Office of the Minister for Defence, May 2007-
“There are 108 different cost figures for the JSF that I am working with and each of them is correct”
-Dr Steve Gumley, CEO of the DMO, Sep./Oct. 2007-
“…I would be surprised if the JSF cost us anymore than A$75 million … in 2008 dollars at an exchange rate of 0.92”
-JSCFADT Dr Steve Gumley, CEO DMO, July 2008-
". . Dr Gumley's evidence on the cost of the JSF was for the average unit recurring flyaway cost for the Australian buy of 100 aircraft . ."
-JSCFADT/Media AVM John Harvey, Aug. 2008-
Confirmed previous advice i.e. A$75 million in 2008 dollars at an exchange rate of 0.92,
-JSCFADT Dr Steve Gumley, CEO of the DMO, Sep. 2009-
" ...about $77 million per copy."
-Robert Gates, U.S. Secretary of Defense, Feb. 2008.
This pulls the rug out from anyone that claims Faulkner and his folly (or any other empty suit that ends up in the Defence Minister job) are especially smart.
For some years, DM's made the grave error of believing the advisers in their department. Only Smith shows a glowing ember of understanding this situation.
Besides the cost, the F-35 also shows no proof of delivering a credible combat capability. It is seriously defective.
In any event, we the taxpayer, have the honour to spend two more years paying the failed New Air Combat Capability (NACC) to go to junkets around the word and look like they are doing something. Even if they have done nothing of worth.
I find it interesting that no-one is asking the question of why we should buy two, over-priced F-35 mistake jets of which Smith says we are "contractually" bound.
A scam upon a scam.
If no-one has any answers on how to end this madness, the only other solution is to pull another $3B from the entrenched Defence bureaucracy until they surrender. If that doesn't work; another $3B.
Whatever it takes to stop the fraud being heaped upon the taxpayer.