Warplanes: Australia Has A Complicated Plan

Archives

July 22, 2011:  Australia recently received another three American F-18F fighters, bringing the total to 18. The first five F-18Fs arrived last year. All this is part of the Australian strategy to obtain American F-35s. It works like this. Two years ago, after over four years of deliberation, Australia decided to begin buying U.S. F-35 fighter-bombers. The first 14 were ordered, at a cost of over $100 million each (the price includes a lot of training and maintenance infrastructure). Eventually, Australia plans to buy about a hundred F-35s, to support a force of three, 24 aircraft each, squadrons.

The plan is to replace the existing force of F-111 bombers with F-35s, and then the aging F-18s. But four years ago, it was realized that it would take too long for the F-35s to arrive, and an interim aircraft would be needed.

The worn out, 1960s era F-111s, were finally retired last December, after 37 years of service. The F-35s will not arrive until 2018. Meanwhile, Indonesia is buying Russian Su-30 fighters. In response, Australia bought 24 American F-18F fighters, for about $100 million each (including spare parts, training and such). Australia already operates 72 of the older, and smaller, F-18B (which will be retired by the end of the decade). While the two versions of the F-18 have a lot in common (about 25 percent commonality in parts), the F-18F is a new, and larger, design that is based on the original F-18. The F-18F deliveries begin next year, and provide Australia with a high performance fighter-bomber that could cope with the Su-30. The F-18Fs will last into the 2020s.

 

 


Article Archive

Warplanes: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close