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Australia
is on
the
threshold
of a major reduction in its relative military
capabilities
against the broader region. Since the early 1990s the
region has experienced unprecedented growth in military capabilities,
most noticeably in air power and in modern guided weapons, largely of
Russian origin. In this rapidly evolving
strategic environment
,
Australia is actively reducing the relative capability of the Royal
Australian Air Force (RAAF), rather than seeking to maintain its
historical advantage in capability.

This capability reduction is being effected in the short term by
premature retirement of the F-111 strike fleet,
which provided around 50% of the nation’s strike capability. In the
long
term, myopic insistence on a single type replacement of the F/A-18A and F-111 forces, the preferred Joint Strike Fighter  to be used in roles it
was not defined for.  It is thus not expected to provide the
capability advantages historically enjoyed by the RAAF, as it is a
battlefield strike and close air support system rather than a general
purpose fighter bomber like the F-22A.
Numerous industry proposals to affordably increase RAAF capability
exist, for instance by further expansion of the tanker
fleet
using surplus commercial airliners.

Unless Australia rapidly
implements aggressive policy
changes
in long
term planning for the RAAF force structure, Australia’s slide in
capabilities relative to the Asia-Pacific-Indian region will continue
unabated.


Air Power Australia was founded by Dr Carlo Kopp
and Mr Peter Goon.  The research
findings
  presented by Air Power Australia are derived from
rigorous quantitative analyses that have been peer reviewed in order to
provide a benchmark for analytical technique and debate in
Australia.  Air Power Australia does not seek to dwell on the
question of who is right or wrong when it comes to Australia’s defence
capability needs; Air Power Australia will focus on what is  right
for Australia and future generations of Australians.

We hope APA
website
and associated endeavours contribute to securing
a more appropriate air power force structure for the defence of current
and future generations of Australians.  Our future will depend on
an RAAF  force structure which is more cost effective, reflects
the
innovative Australian ethos and carries far less risk than that
currently planned for by the Department of Defence.


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