Retired Air Vice Marshall Peter Criss has launched a stinging attack on Australia’s participation in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter project in the Australian Defence Association magazine The Defender.

Criss warns of a “culture of denial” in the Defence Department:

Such a culture was graphically revealed in the recent Senate Inquiry’s descriptions of different military justice cases where behavioural patterns of opaqueness, self-preservation, and arbitrary decision-making processes abounded. This ‘culture of denial’ pervades all key areas of Defence; from military justice, to recruitment, management, capability development and acquisition…

The acquisition of Australia’s new strike/fighter, both as a strategic element of military hardware, and as a process of decision making, bears all the hallmarks of the same collusive and self-referential decision-making environment evident with military justice.

The attack comes after a grim day for Defence procurement projects in Senate Estimates.

It was confirmed yesterday that there will be an 18-month delay before the Wedgetail early warning aircraft are delivered.

At the same time, Defence says it hopes to know by the end of this year what the future will be for the $1 billion Seasprite helicopter project – already five years late and indefinitely grounded.