The Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP,
Minister for Defence
27 Feb 2009
SUPER HORNETS WIRED FOR FUTURE UPGRADE
The Rudd Government has invested an initial $35 million to boost the capability of the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets the Howard Government controversially ordered in 2007.
After an extensive review of the Super Hornet purchase, the Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon announced last year that the Rudd Government was left with little choice but to proceed with the $6.6 billion purchase. Mr Fitzgibbon cited financial penalties and the risk of an air capability gap due to poor long-term planning, as the key reasons.
“Wiring twelve of the Super Hornets as Growlers will give us the opportunity to provide taxpayers with better value for money,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.
“If finally pursued, the relatively small investment will significantly enhance the Super Hornet’s capability, by giving electronic attack capacity and therefore the ability to nullify the systems of opposing aircraft.
“It will also provide the Super Hornets with counter-terrorism capability through the ability to shut down the ground-based communications and bomb triggering devices of terrorists.”
The $35 million investment has allowed 12 of the 24 Super Hornets for future fit-out while still on the production line, providing significant savings. The completion of the project will require an additional investment of around $300 million. That final decision will not be required until around 2012.
If the Howard Government had taken a more prudent approach in making the Super Hornet decision rather than rushing to fill their impending air combat capability gap, they may have realised that this was a more effective approach to take.
Jack Smith (Joel Fitzgibbon): 02 6277 7800 or 0408 116 423