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Review of Australia's Air Combat Capability.



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Minister for Defence THE HON JOEL FITZGIBBON MP Minister for Defence

Monday, 18 February 2008 008/2008

REVIEW OF AUSTRALIA’S AIR COMBAT CAPABILITY

The Minister for Defence, the Hon Joel Fitzgibbon MP, today announced the structure and details of the new Government’s promised review into the adequacy of current planning for Australia’s Air Combat Capability to 2045.

“This review will provide the Government with a timely opportunity to assess the strengths of our current plans and inform consideration of our future air combat capability in the context of the new Defence White Paper”, Mr Fitzgibbon said.

The review will be conducted in two stages. The first stage will assess:

A) Australia’s Air Combat Capability requirements in the period 2010 to 2015;

B) the feasibility of retaining the F-111 aircraft in service beyond 2010;

C) a comparative analysis of aircraft available to fill any gap that may be left by the withdrawal of the F-111; and

D) the status of plans to acquire the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

The second stage of the review will consider trends in Asia-Pacific air power until 2045 and the relative capabilities of current and projected fourth and fifth generation combat aircraft such as the Joint Strike Fighter. The review will also examine the case for and against acquiring the F-22. Public submissions will be called for in regard to stage two.

The review team will also consider industry issues relevant to the development of Australia’s future air combat capability.

The review will be led by a senior Defence civilian, Mr Neil Orme, First Assistant Secretary Policy Development. In addition to its Defence membership, the steering group will comprise senior executives from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Treasury and the Department of Finance and Deregulation “I have asked the review team to provide its report by the end of April 2008 in order that its findings can be considered by Government and incorporated into the development of the Defence White Paper”, Mr Fitzgibbon said.

An unclassified executive summary will be publicly released after Government has considered the classified report.

Process for public submissions: The review welcomes submissions for stage two of up to 10,000 words from interested groups and individuals. The deadline for submissions is Friday 28 March 2008. Submissions should be made through ACC.Review@defence.gov.au The Terms of Reference are attached.

Media contacts: Christian Taubenschlag (Joel Fitzgibbon): 02 6277 7800 or 0438 595 567 Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664

Review of the Adequacy of Extant Plans for the Development of Australia’s Air Combat Capability to 2045

TERMS OF REFERENCE

Review Lead Mr Neil Orme, First Assistant Secretary Policy Development, Department of Defence.

Scope of the Review The review team will report in two parts. Part A 1. The review team will report on: a. Australia’s Air Combat Capability requirements in the period 2010 to 2015; b. the feasibility of retaining the F-111 aircraft in service beyond 2010; c. a comparative analysis of aircraft available to fill any gap that may be left by withdrawal of the F-111; and d. the status of plans to acquire the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

Part B 2. The review team will report on: a. trends in Asia-Pacific air power until 2045; b. the relative capabilities of current and projected 4th and 5th generation combat aircraft; c. the relative capabilities of Australia’s current and planned air combat systems in light of (a) and (b), identifying key risks; d. the cost and budgetary implications of planned air combat acquisitions; e. the status of plans to acquire the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) and the status of the JSF project, including: i) the implications of the F/A-18 Super Hornet acquisition for the planned JSF acquisition; ii) options to achieve an all-JSF fleet should that prove desirable, including advice on the optimum numbers of aircraft in the context of the overall air combat system; and iii) an assessment of complementary options, including unmanned aerial combat vehicles; f. the case for and against acquiring the F-22; g. The robustness of the plans for transition from the current F-111/F/A-18 fleets to the future fleets, including; i) weapons systems; ii) personnel; and iii) enabling systems and infrastructure; and h. industry issues relevant to the development of Australia’s air combat capability, both in the manufacturing and sustainment domains. 3. The review team will seek and consider public submissions on Part B of this review. 4. The review team will also provide: a. an unclassified executive summary of the report (to be delivered following Government consideration of the classified report); and b. a report on the public submissions made to the review (to be annexed to both the classified and public versions of the report).

Steering Group Mr Mike Pezzullo, Deputy Secretary (Defence) (Chair); Air Marshal Geoff Shepherd, Chief of Air Force; Vice Admiral Matt Tripovich, Chief Capability Development Group; Dr Steve Gumley, Chief Executive Officer Defence Materiel Organisation; Dr Roger Lough, Chief Defence Scientist; Mr Duncan Lewis, Deputy Secretary, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; Mr David Tune, Deputy Secretary, Department of the Treasury; and Mr Paul Grimes, Deputy Secretary, Department of Finance and Deregulation.

Timing The full report is to be submitted to the Minister for Defence by 30 April 2008.

www.defence.gov.au