Trump threat to Australian Joint Strike Fighter jobs, contracts

Trump threat to Australian Joint Strike Fighter jobs, contracts, by Nick Evans.

Donald Trump has put thousands of Australian jobs and billions in local defence contracts under threat and potentially undermined a key plank of the federal government’s defence industry policy by threatening to end offshore manufacturing of parts for the F-35 fighter jet. …

Trump is quite right:

In an interview with Fox News, President Trump criticised the decision to spread manufacturing of the F-35 across US allies as “crazy”, saying he would change US policy to bring construction of the fighter jets back to US factories. …

“It’s a great jet, and we make parts for this jet all over the world. We make them in Turkey, we make them here, we’re going to make them there. All because President (Barack) Obama and others — I’m not just blaming him — thought it was a wonderful thing.

“The problem is, if we have a problem with a country, you can’t make the jet. We get parts from all over the place. It’s so crazy. We should make everything in the United States,” he said. …

U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters from the 58th Fighter Squadron, 33rd Fighter Wing, Eglin AFB, Fla. May 2013

Can’t fight, can’t run, awful to maintain, and much more expensive to run than promised. Great computers though. Made all over the world. A true camel designed by a committee.

Last June President Trump kicked Turkey out of the Joint Strike Fighter program after the NATO ally elected to buy a Russian air defence system.

The decision came at a substantial cost to the program, with the US government audit office recently estimating it would add an additional $US1.5bn to annual manufacturing costs. But the Trump administration has shown no signs of backing away from its decision. …

More than 300,000 parts go into an individual fighter plane, many made with contributions offshore, but assembled in the US. …

Effect on Australia:

The US defence establishment has already handed out about $2bn worth of contracts for the F-35 over the last few years … More than 50 Australian companies are involved in the F-35 supply chain in one form or another, with Defence Minister Linda Reynolds saying in May the program had already created almost 2400 local jobs.

The federal government has said Australia’s partnership in the F-35 program will create more than 5000 jobs by 2023.