It suddenly seems the Air Force needs major recapitalisation, just as its force structure is being renewed at considerable cost.

In a startling statement reported this month, two recent Air Force chiefs assert Australia has made some grave force structure errors. It seems the RAAF needs a new bomber, as the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter now entering service is inadequate for future strike operations. The chiefs’ intervention raises questions about how this could have happened and, given growing international tensions, how such expensive strategic missteps can be avoided.

Australia joined the US-led F-35 program in a rush in 2002. There was no tender process or formal evaluation. Nor could there be. The aircraft was still brochure-ware, with delivery schedule and cost unknown, albeit thought to be Australia’s most expensive defence equipment purchase.

Please click here to read the full “Australia’s F-35s: Lessons from a problematic purchase” article published at The Interpreter, written by Griffith Asia Institute Visiting Fellow, Dr Peter Layton.