The Australian government has revealed it may scrap its plan to buy 100 F-35s because of delivery delays and ongoing cost overruns.
Repeated delays and ballooning costs in the F-35 programme are now starting to rub against already generous delivery and cost limits set by the government and military planners, Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith said.
"We are running close up to those schedules, particularly on delivery. So I've made the point very clear that we are now monitoring very closely the delivery timetable and we are also monitoring very closely the cost," Smith told Australian radio after meeting defence officials in Washington.
Australia, which is helping develop the F-35, has committed to buying 14 of the stealth aircraft and had initially planned for first deliveries in 2011. That has now been pushed back to 2014 and even that date may be in jeopardy.
Australia recently took delivery of the first of 24 F/A-18F Super Hornet multi-role fighter aircraft manufactured by Boeing to replace ageing strike bombers. Smith said Canberra could consider buying more of these in place of the F-35.
...The cost of each aircraft has rocketed from $69 million to $103 million apiece, with design and development flaws plaguing planners and worrying lawmakers.
By the way did you notice that Australia was planning to buy 100 F-35s? Just as Holland is ordering 85 F-35s? So what in hell good does Harper think a paltry 65 F-35s will be in defending a landmass as vast and remote as Canada's? Seriously, the miniscule force that the Harper regime is planning to pick up is a giveaway that this is an entirely political instead of a defence driven purchase.
One outfit that's having no problem with the F-35 is its manufacturer, Lockheed. According to Bloomberg, the F-35 programme has boosted Lockheed's profits by 3.9%. The company is now forecasting 2011 revenues at $46-47 billion translating into earnings per share between $7.35 and 7.55. America's government may be broke, its economy may be in peril, but it sure is nothing but smooth sailing for the warfare state.