Procurement: Australia Runs Out of Time


February14, 2007: Australia, which was planning on replacing its existing force of F-111 bombers with F-35s, has done the math and realized it will have to buy an interim aircraft. The worn out, 1960s era F-111s, will have to be retired by 2010. The F-35s will not arrive until 2018. Meanwhile, Indonesia is buying Russian Su-30 fighters. In response, Australia wants to buy 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. While the two versions of the F-18 have a lot in common (about 25 percent commonality in parts), the F-18F is basically a new, and larger, design that is based on the original F-18. The F-18F deliveries could begin by 2010, and provide Australia with a high performance fighter-bomber that could cope with the Su-30. .




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