Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 16:52 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 16:52 | SYDNEY

Australia election: The defence debate


Sam Roggeveen


9 November 2007 12:58

Next Friday, The Interpreter will cover the federal election debate between Defence Minister Brendon Nelson and the Labor Party Defence spokesman, Joel Fitzgibbon.  They're sure to discuss Australia's future fighter aircraft requirements, particularly since the ABC's marquee investigative journalism program, Four Corners, recently questioned whether Australia's interim F-111 replacement, the F/A-18F Super Hornet, was the right choice against the highly capable Russian Sukhoi fighters being purchased by China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.

The defence technology blog Ares reports that 'Australia chose the F/A-18F Super Hornet as a "bridging" fighter because it was uniquely easy to integrate into the existing force, according to Gp Capt Steven Roberton, head of the Royal Australian Air Force's air combat transition office.' That seems like an useful benefit, but a decidedly second-order one. After all, if Super Hornet can't deliver the capability we want, what good is a speedy integration? The Four Corners report argued pretty strongly against Super Hornet, in part through a curious table-top exercise which was meant to show that, if Australia had Super Hornets and Indonesia had Sukhois, we probably wouldn't be able to bomb Jakarta!