The pace at which the US is discovering the dismal state of the Joint Strike Fighter JSF F-35 program continues to outpace the capacity of the Australian Government to deal with the reality, and the inability of its defence establishment to recognise and react to the disclosures.
This story, using documents obtained under American FoI rules, is published this afternoon in a Texas newsaper, the Star-Telegram.
The report isn’t supposition. It is hard factual documents, containing information that would have given pause to any Minister responsible for the most important defence acquisition in Australia’s history. It is about facts that our defence establishment was incapable of finding or bringing to the Minister’s attention. Why?
Australia’s claims to air superiority are welded to the JSF project. The quality of the advice Defence Minister John Faulkner has received from our defence establishment is looking worse by the day.
Among the many critical questions that confront the Minister is who really owns the people who pumped him full of nonsense about the progress of this project to the extent that he committed $3.2 billion last November to an initial batch of F-35s that are over budget, late and ill-defined.
Why didn’t, or couldn’t, defence tell the minister what these documents told a Texas broadsheet?