Monday, February 25, 2013

Australia Looks For More Super Hornets

Australia's ABC News Breakfast program Interviewed the country's Minister of Defence Stephen Smith on various topics Including the F-35 program. From the excerpt below it looks like Australia is looking at the Super Hornet, not just as a stop-gap measure Because of delays in the F-35 program, intended as a mixed fleet of hand. Here is the transcript:

News Host: I want to ask you about the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. That purchase has-been the subject of much criticism. Now the man heading the U.S. F-35 program, he's Four Corners Told (an Australian TV news show) it's been put into producing before proper testing has-been done. Is the government still confident with the Purchases it's made?

STEPHEN SMITH : We have contractually COMMITTED Ourselves to two Joint Strike Fighters. Those we'll receive in 2014 in the United States for training purposes. We've Announced That we will take another 12, our first squadron Effectively, we have-nots goal made ​​a judgment as to When the orders we will spot for those. I've made ​​it clear since the time I've Become That We Defence Minister will not allow delays in the Joint Strike Fighter project to leave us with a gap in capability and at the end of last year, we Placed a letter of request Authorities with the United States to enable us to Investigate the potential purchase of up to 24 more Super Hornets.

We've now got a fleet of 24 Super Hornets, 12 can be wired Of Those up for the Growler electronic warfare capability, and we've got about 70 Classic Hornets. Purpose the delays in the Joint Strike Fighter project do raise a risk of gap in capability and I've made it clear we will not allow That to Occur. We've always beens confidant That in the end the plane and the project aim Would it get up has-been subject to very serious scheduling delays and that's what's Causing us to risk a gap in capability.

News host: Because the form Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon, he says Defence Officials That Were running interference to protect the program. Have you ever felt pressured by Defence Officials to continue with this program?

STEPHEN SMITH : The only pressure I feel is the pressure to make sour That Which Judgements we make are in our national and national security interests, and it's not in our national security interests to allow a gap in our air combat capability to Occur. To his great credit, Brendan Nelson made ​​safe That We Purchased 24 Super Hornets. Joel Fitzgibbon, as one of my predecessors, made ​​safe That That purchase was fully Effected.

I've made sour That we've been ble to Acquire the Growler electronic warfare capability, Which is linked to Super Hornets, and I'll aussi That made safe we ​​do not leave Any delays in the risk That Joint Strike Fighter project will see a gap in our capability and That conjures up, we're Investigating Which, for the potential purchase of more Super Hornets.

Now, I've made it clear aussi at the end of last year That we're not just looking now to the Super Hornets being has gap in capability, the goal into longer term Whether it makes sense for Australia to Have a mixed fleet, a mixed fleet of Super Hornets, Growler and Joint Strike Fighters, Which is what you see Essentially the United States Navy and Air Force now Embarking upon.

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