|September 11, 2008
THE federal Opposition has dismissed new doubts about the multi-billion dollar Joint Strike Fighter project and the jet's performance.
The JSF jets, for which Australia is likely to pay $16 billion, were comprehensively beaten in highly classified simulated dogfights against Russian Sukhoi fighters, it has been reported.
The war games, conducted at Hawaii's Hickam airbase last month, were witnessed by at least four RAAF personnel and a member of Australia's peak military spy agency, the Defence Intelligence Organisation, The West Australian said.
Opposition defence spokesman Nick Minchin said he was taking "with a grain of salt" the validity of the report.
"This is based on a computer game, computer modelling of the aircraft," he told Sky News.
"This is not real life."
Senator Minchin said he had a classified briefing on the JSF from its US manufacturer Lockheed-Martin which had promoted the aircraft as the most advanced jet fighter ever.
"I can't really say much about it, but this is a phenomenal aircraft.
"As our chief of defence Angus Houston has said this is a most extraordinary aircraft, it is the right aircraft for Australia."
The multi-purpose fighter would be the backbone of the United States military, Senator Minchin said.
"We are fortunate to be in it and the government should move to make the decision to acquire it."
WA Liberal backbencher Dennis Jensen said he had spoken to a third party with knowledge of the final classified test results who had claimed the JSF had been clubbed like baby seals by the simulated Sukhois, The West Australian reported.
He said the government should demand that the US Government sell it the F-22 which was already in operation instead of the JSF.
A response was been sought from the government.
What do you all think? (playing into APA hands, etc?)