Security Challenges
Volume 15, No.1 (2019)

Global Defense Procurement and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

A few weeks ago the Royal Australian Air Force took delivery of two newbuild F-35A Joint Strike Fighters. They are the third and fourth such aircraft to fly in Australian skies—a full seven years after the 2012 in-service date that appeared in early planning documents when Australia first signed up to the program in 2002. They cost about US$100 million each, with the price increase being commensurate with the schedule slippage—they are about twice the price used in the early days of marketing by their builder, Lockheed Martin. They will need upgrades to their software in the next few years to meet some of the promised performance specifications and the RAAF will have to wait until sometime in the 2020s for them be able to operate with dedicated anti-shipping missiles.

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