Australian Election Implications For The Joint Strike Fighter

Australian politics confuse me, to be honest. Watching the ongoing circus we call politics in the US is time consuming enough, without trying to decipher politics down under. My stance on that has changed somewhat in recent weeks though. Australia is a valued partner of the US. Any election in Australia has implications for the Pacific. With that in mind, I started to do a bit of digging.

At this moment, it seems that Tony Abbot is likely to be Australia’s next Prime Minister. Why do I think this is interesting? This document is why.

Found in this document are a few interesting things. Abbot’s Coalition government will be a very pro-defense administration. Here are the standout items.

-Proceed with the acquisition of Joint Strike Fighters

-Consider closely the need for unmanned aerial surveillance vehicles

-Make the decisions necessary to ensure Australia has no submarine capability gap within 18 months of the election. Ensure that work on the replacement of the current submarine fleet will centre around the South Australian shipyards.

-Maintain a strong alliance with the United States of America and deepen this long-standing alliance relationship.

In the linked document, the Coalition states Australia will proceed with procurement of seventy two F-35’s. A further twenty eight aircraft may be required above the initial seventy two, potentially bringing the number of airframes procured to one hundred. Sounds like good news for the JSF, and for Australia.

The referenced unmanned aerial surveillance vehicles, I take to mean the MQ-4C Triton maritime surveillance platform. Procurement of the Triton would be a great happening for US/Aus joint operations.

As for the issue of submarine procurement, I’m not at all surprised by the plan laid out. While I would love to see Australia procure SSN’s, it was never something I considered likely. My hope is past problems are not repeated in a future Australian SSK program.

‘Deepening the long standing alliance relationship’ can mean many things. Over the past several months, the USAF has openly discussed rotating aircraft in and out of Australia. I take the ‘deepening’ portion of this quote to mean an expanded footprint of US forces rotating through Australia, to include ground, air, and naval forces.

All in all, I see this as a net positive for not only Australian defense, but for the US/AUS relationship, and the Pacific as a whole.


~ by arcturus415 on September 5, 2013.

2 Responses to “Australian Election Implications For The Joint Strike Fighter”

  1. If we are fortunate maybe you will see a similar article about concerning Canada’s supposed to purchase 65 F-35′s, maybe after Canadian’s next national election they decide to procure more than the above stated amount.

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