2014-03-23 From a story on Australian 9 News National:
In a report released on Monday, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute says it makes most sense for the federal government to commit to spending between $8 billion and $10 billion on 58 of the fighters, which are expected to enter service in 2020.
Report authors Andrew Davies and Harry White say the F-35 is a capable fighter with an ability to penetrate sophisticated air defences, but note that other factors, including political relations, point towards a likely buy.
“Because we’re an international program partner on the JSF, the economies of scale for other buyers – including the US – will be reduced if we don’t purchase the aircraft,” they say.
Start-up costs to take on the JSF are predicted to be $2 billion, with a ongoing annual cost of about $200 million.
“In the final analysis, the government seems likely to be prepared to pay a moderate premium to maintain a high-end air-combat capability, and to preserve the other benefits to industry and the alliance with Washington,” the report says.
“On balance, that looks like a reasonable decision for Australia.”
As the government keeps a watchful eye on Australia’s budget, the report suggests an option of reducing the F-35 order to 50, thus saving about $800 million on the initial cost.
Australian industry has secured contracts worth more than $US300 million ($A332.54 million) to manufacture F-35 components, with the injection to the economy possibly reaching $US5 billion over the lifetime of the program.
For the report go to the following link on the ASPI website: