Thursday, 13 October 2011
Questions on Notice
Defence (Question Nos 503 and 779)
The honourable senator has asked two questions on the same subject six months apart. The Minister for Defence has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's questions:
(1) With reference to the acquisition of the first 14 aircraft:
(a) The first 14 JSF, with infrastructure and support required for initial training and testing, will be acquired at an estimated cost of $2.8 billion (then year price and exchange rate of $0.83). The aircraft are anticipated to cost approximately $1.6 billion (then year price and exchange rate of $0.83) including some contingency. Some additional contingency is approved in the broader Stage 1 acquisition against risks and cost uncertainty. The figures are in ‘Then Year’ Australian dollars (i.e. they take inflation into account).
(b) The acquisition comprises:
(i) initial pilot training in the United States;
(ii) initial spares associated with 14 aircraft;
(iii) auxiliary mission equipment (such as weapons adaptors);
(iv) training equipment and simulators to support operational testing;
(v) weapons to support commencement of operational testing;
(vi) support equipment associated with 14 aircraft;
(vii) facilities design and environmental planning activities;
(viii) initial contributions to a mission systems reprogramming facility;
(ix) information technology integration;
(x) initial contributions to shared JSF Program costs;
(xi) ongoing Defence Science & Technology Organisation support activities;
(xii) operational test activities in Australia; and
(xiii) ongoing industry support initiatives.
(c) On current plans, the initial 14 aircraft will be delivered through 2014 to 2017.
(d) The aircraft will not become fully operational until at least 2018.
(e) Assuming an operational life out to 2046, the estimated through life and operating cost of the 14 aircraft (including capability upgrades but not including acquisition cost) will be approximately A$9 billion (Then Year).
(2) A decision on purchasing the next batch of aircraft and all necessary support and enabling capabilities – leading to a total of no fewer than 72 aircraft to form the first three operational squadrons and a training squadron is planned for 2012. A decision on acquiring the fourth operational squadron to bring the total number of JSF aircraft to around 100, will be considered at a later date in conjunction with the Government’s decision on the timing of withdrawal of the 24 Super Hornets.
(3) With reference to the acquisition of the remaining 86 JSF aircraft:
(a) The expected acquisition cost for 86 additional JSF aircraft, which includes all project costs, is approximately A$13.5 billion (Then Year) Significant additional contingency is approved against risks and cost uncertainty.
(b) The acquisition breakdown is broadly similar to the first 14 aircraft but comprises the full support capability:
(i) initial spares associated with remaining aircraft;
(ii) auxiliary mission equipment associated with remaining aircraft;
(iii) additional training equipment and simulators to support four operational squadrons and a training squadron;
(iv) weapons for use in initial operational testing and training;
(v) support equipment associated with remaining aircraft;
(vi) facilities construction and noise mitigation activities;
(vii) remaining contributions to a mission system reprogramming facility;
(viii) remaining contributions to shared JSF Program costs.
(c) On current plans, the bulk of the aircraft to form the first three operational squadrons and a training squadron will be delivered through 2018-2022.
(d) On current plans, the first three operational squadrons will achieve Full Operational Capability by 2021. The fourth (and last) operational squadron will not be operational until post 2020 as determined by Government consideration of AIR6000 Phase 2C scheduled for “not earlier than 2015”.
(e) The indicative plan is as follows:
(i) RAAF Base Williamtown - first operational squadron in 2018,
(ii) RAAF Base Tindal - second operational squadron in 2019,
(iii) RAAF Base Williamtown - training squadron in 2019,
(iv) RAAF Base Williamtown – third operational squadron in 2020, and
(v) RAAF Base Amberley – fourth operational squadron in 2022-23.
(f) Assuming an operational life out to 2046, the estimated through life and operating cost of the 86 aircraft will be approximately A$36 billion (Then Year).
(g) The procurement cost of 24 Super Hornet (aircraft only) would be expected to be approximately A$180-200 million less than the cost of 24 JSF.