Wednesday 13 Oct 2021 | 04:11 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 13 Oct 2021 | 04:11 | SYDNEY

Reader ripostes: SBY and JSF


Sam Roggeveen


16 March 2010 12:04

Alison Broinowski writes:

It is a welcome sign of how things have changed, as Hugh White says, that a President of Indonesia even visits Australia, as well as delivering a frank and finely honed speech to the Parliament.

Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono surveyed the history of the relationship and remarked on the deaths of Australians in the Marriott bombing and the Garuda crash, yet he didn't mention the murders either of six Australian journalists in 1975 or of 88 Australians in the Bali bombing in 2002.

Instead, he observed that many Indonesians believe Australia 'harbours ill intention toward Indonesia', and at the same time expressed surprise that many Australians are reciprocally suspicious about Indonesia. I have always wondered what Indonesians' response would have been if comparable numbers of their proud people had been killed in Australia. I doubt that Australian leaders would have been allowed to forget it.

And Christopher Skinner mediates on the Roggeveen-Gottliebsen imbroglio:

I have reviewed Robert Gottliebsen's first article and your response and feel that you are justified in saying that he misrepresented (or at least misinterpreted) your comments as an endorsement.

I also noted his disarming statement: 'I have always been nervous writing about defence matters – it is not my area of expertise'. However, I have a solution for you both:

  1. Australia should convert its order for the JSF F-35 to a reduced number of F-35B aircraft to be operated as short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft from shore in primitive cleared areas and, most importantly, from the two large LHD ships being acquired for the Navy (and which already have the ski-jump facility designed for the STO capability (the VL is straightforward for any ship with a strengthened deck).
  2. Undertake an Australian air power study along the lines of the recent RAND studies on Taiwan air defences, that looks at all of the factors including ballistic missiles, long-range ground and sea-based air defences, unmanned air vehicles, the necessary command, control, communications and electronic warfare capabilities and, most fundamentally, how to keep airbases (and ships) operational when subject to sustained attack by missiles.
  3. Then and only then, lobby for Australia to acquire the F-22 provided the study shows it is viable to operate from hardened airfields and has the range, with air-refuelling, that we need.