The $1.5 billion C-27J Spartan Battlefield Airlifter project has been added to Defence’s Projects of Interest list due to delays to achieving final operational capability.
This is in addition to the $45 billion Future Frigates project which was added due to their strategic importance and cost and schedule risks.
The Projects of Interest list identifies projects facing significant risks to schedule, capability and budget.
Final operational capability for the C-27J aircraft was meant to be achieved in December 2017, however it has now been pushed back to the final quarter of 2020 at the earliest.
In addition to facing this long delay, this project has now been revealed as being unlikely to deliver the critical capability of being able to transport ADF personnel and equipment into battlefields.
At the recent Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit hearing, Defence admitted that there “are deficiencies around the ADI [Attitude Direction Indicator] upgrade, which is to keep the aircraft relative, and the electronic self-protection system” for the C-27J aircraft.
In plain English, the Government has spent $1.5 billion for a battlefield airlift aircraft that cannot fly into a battlefield.
They are asking taxpayers to either accept an aircraft that’s unable to perform its core function or to spend more money on top of this for a chance to fix the project.
The C-27J aircraft join a long list of failing projects overseen by a revolving door of Coalition defence ministers.
Yet again the Government’s mismanagement of crucial Defence projects is resulting in budget blowouts, schedule delays, and the ADF not receiving the capabilities it needs.