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JOINT STRIKE FIGHTER – SAME BUDGET, LESSER PLANE

May 28, 2020

Yesterday’s Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA) Inquiry into the 2018-19 Defence Major Projects Report Project confirmed the $16.5 billion Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) project will not be delivered with the full capabilities that were promised to the Australian people.

Department of Defence officials were forced to admit during yesterday’s hearing that while the full $16.5 billion is still going to be spent, the JSFs will not have the Maritime Strike Capability or the Beyond Line of Sight - $1.5 billion of capabilities which will no longer be delivered with the aircraft.

The strike capability was supposed to be delivered by the ADF through another platform, even though Defence couldn’t specify which one.

The Beyond Line of Sight capability may be delivered later, but it appears even that is up in the air.

What makes it worse is that the Government has tried to hide this cost overrun by saying they were reconsidering the capabilities as a priority for the JSF project.

Despite saying that they were “trying to be as open as we can”, when asked whether the Government was paying the same amount of money for less capabilities for the aircraft, Defence said they were:
“…delivering the capabilities that we need for initial operation capability and final operational capability…some of the capabilities which will be delivered in a different time scale have been moved into different phases of the project.”

Let’s be clear about this: $16.5 billion of taxpayers dollars will be spent on these jets even though it will have $1.5 billion worth of important, promised capabilities missing.

The Morrison Government is expecting taxpayers pay this extra $1.5 billion in the future to make up for their budget blow out.

This is another example of the Morrison Government mismanaging Defence projects and being unable to deliver them on time and within budget.

Our ADF troops are continuing to be let down by not receiving equipment with the capabilities they need.

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