The F-35: where to from here?

The F-35: where to from here? By David Archibald.

Our Government has told us that the RAAF’s F-35 fleet of 72 aircraft will cost us $16,000 million. Setting aside a couple of billion for basing requirements, that works out at about $US145 million per aircraft. That is in line with US Government projections of the cost of acquiring F-35s in 2021 of $US125 million per aircraft. …

Australia has two completed F-35s at the moment. … Over the next year or so we will be getting another 31 aircraft and then more at the rate of 15 per year. In fact, over the next few years Australia will be acquiring F-35s at a little under one-third of the rate of the US Air Force…

USAF F-35

We are not being done a favour by the US in this matter. Lockheed Martin, aware that the F-35 is unlikely to pass Milestone C (which allows full rate production to proceed) in 2019, is pushing for a block buy of F-35s because buying in bulk will produce savings, so they say. They know the F-35 is doomed but they will sell a few hundred more aircraft in the meantime. When the F-35 program is abandoned then Australia’s F-35s will become orphans. For parts, we will be at the mercy of Lockheed Martin, who will be merciless in their gouging.

Modern politics in Washington (sounds like climate change):

The Secretary of the Air Force, Heather Wilson, has accepted some $US600,000 from Lockheed Martin, most of it for a nominal position at some nuclear labs that the Company was running at the time. …

Lockheed Martin’s position as paymaster to the Deep State is demonstrated by its $US6 million ex gratia payment to the former FBI Director, James Comey, upon his leaving the company. …

As Secretary of the Air Force, Heather Wilson will be able to ruin the careers of any USAF generals expressing doubt about the F-35.

Read it all.