Fighters the `next best'22jun04AUSTRALIA will not get "top of the range" stealth fighters in the $15 billion deal for the new generation US-built aircraft.The Australian version of the Joint Strike Fighter will not be equipped with the best weapons systems and will be missing other crucial war fighting sensors.Michael Cosentino, international programs director for Lockheed Martin's JSF project, yesterday confirmed the RAAF would be sold so-called Block 2 aircraft and not the Block 3 type provided to the US Air Force.Mr Cosentino rejected claims Australia would get a "dumbed down" version of the JSF when it signs up for the nation's biggest ever defence contract.The $15 billion will buy the RAAF 60 fighters which are due to be delivered in three instalments from 2012 to 2020.They will replace the RAAF's 24 F-111 strike aircraft and 77 F/A-18 fighters.Mr Cosentino said the Block 2 version would be a war-ready fighter but would not be fitted with more sophisticated weapons, software and other systems available in Block 3 planes."Block 2 is a go-to-war, stealthy, survivable, lethal aircraft," he said.Mr Cosentino is in Canberra for a major defence industry conference and to update the Government and RAAF on the project.He said the aircraft was "about 80 per cent designed and tracking to all of its performance requirements".The US Government and Lockheed were acutely aware of the "strategic gap" between when the F-111s were retired in 2010 and the JSF delivery.US Ambassador to Australia Tom Schieffer told a Parliamentary Inquiry yesterday Australia would get as much technology as any country outside the US could get."We have given assurances to Australia that we will give you the absolute maximum that we can with regard to that technology," he said."Having said the airplane will not be exactly the same airplane as the US . . . it will be a stealth fighter, it will have stealth capabilities
Com este murcão do Bush quem manda são as grandes companhias. E Espero que o Kerry traga ar fresco...Os americanos estão a fazer-se demasiado esquisitos, e por mais que os admire não hesitaria em mandá-los dar uma volta se me viessem com comversa da treta.
Concordo. Mesmo assim penso que é demasiado cedo para quantificar o preço de um F-35. Prefiro esperar para ver pois estou convencido que será uma aeronave mais barata do que aquela que aqui foi referida. Acredito que isto seja mais uma manobra da LMTAS e da própria Força Aérea para conseguir mais fundos para o programa.