estimated cost of buying the new Joint Strike Fighter for the Royal Australian
Air Force has risen by $670 million in the past three years, Senate Estimates
heard yesterday.

Federal Government is planning on purchasing 100 Joint Strike Fighter planes
from the United States. ADF chief Angus Houston has told a Senate Committee that the price of each new plane has
risen from $US40 million to $US45 million, according to the ABC.

Yet questions remain if the project will ever get off the ground. British finance weekly The Businessreported this weekend that the Dutch are considering halving their order for the plane:

The Netherlands is the third-largest
financial partner on the $US250bn nine nations joint strike
fighter. It is looking at buying only half the 85 jets it
originally wanted due to development delays on the plane and a perceived lack
of industrial return.

The Dutch, who are investing $800m in the initial phase of the
plane programme, now intend to order the fighter plane in two batches – and the
order for the second batch may never materialise, it is feared…

America will soon announce
the findings of a five-yearly review into defence industrial spending and JSF
is one of the programmes expected to sustain heavy cuts.