THE previous federal government's $6 billion decision to buy 24 Boeing Super Hornet fighters for the RAAF could save taxpayers $750 million on a new jet deal.We can argue about his suitability as Liberal leader but Brendan Nelson was a good Defence minister.
According to well-placed sources, the Rudd Government is studying options to delay the purchase of next-generation F-35 joint strike fighters (JSFs) to potentially save hundreds of millions of dollars.
Without the Super Hornets a so-called "air combat capability gap" would have emerged after the retirement of the RAAF's F-111 fleet in 2010.
Australia's first JSFs are due in 2014. The Super Hornets, which enter service in 2009, could plug that gap for several years, but without them the Government would have been forced to buy the JSF at inflated "early" prices....