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Streaming video

Title Four Corners: Reach For The Sky
Published Australia : ABC, 2013
Online access available from:
Informit EduTV    View Resource Record  


Description 1 online resource (streaming video file) (44 min. 51 sec.) ; 271846172 bytes
Summary The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter project could cost Australian taxpayers tens of billions of dollars. Is this plane a super fighter or a massive waste of money?It's been billed as the smartest jet fighter on the planet, designed to strike enemies in the air and on the ground without being detected by radar. But after a decade of intensive development, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is over budget, a long way behind schedule and described by one expert as "big, fat and draggy".The JSF project could cost Australian taxpayers tens of billions of dollars. Is this plane a super fighter or a massive waste of money?Next on Four Corners reporter Andrew Fowler travels to the United States in search of answers. He goes to Lockheed Martin's top secret factory in Texas. He also secured the first television interview with the Pentagon's new head man on the project, whose candid assessment of the JSF would chill many in the Defence Department:"Well let's make no mistake about it. This program still has risks, technical risks, it has cost issues, it has problems we'll have to fix in the future."The question is how and why did Australia lock itself into a project that both experts and senior US politicians say is dangerously flawed? Four Corners asks three crucial questions. Why was the plane chosen without an open and competitive tender? Why did the then head of the RAAF give the plane and the project his stamp of approval when it was barely off the drawing board? And will the aircraft's capabilities have to be downgraded before it gets into service?Reflecting on the decision not to open the purchase of a new fighter jet to competition, one insider told the program:"Now we were proposing that we buy something being developed for the US Air Force if you like, on a whim."Last year the Canadian Government was rocked by revelations that it had severely under-estimated the cost of the 65 Joint Strike Fighters it had contracted to buy. As a result Canada has been forced to halt the purchase and re-assess it through an open tender process. This has major implications for Australia. It suggests we could be under-estimating the JSF's true cost and it means if the Canadians pull out of the program the price of each plane will rise yet again
Event Broadcast 2013-02-18 at 20:30:00
Notes Classification: NC
Subject Air defenses.
Fighter planes.
Jet planes, Military -- Costs.
F-35 (Jet fighter plane)
United States.
Form Streaming video
Author O'Brien, Kerry, host
Fowler, Andrew, reporter
Bogdan, Chris, contributor
Boyd, Sam, contributor
Carvalho, Orlando, contributor
Davis, Sylvester, contributor
Goon, Peter, contributor
Kloos, Lee, contributor
Mackay, Peter, contributor
Mills, Chris, contributor
Norman, Alan, contributor
Sprey, Pierre, contributor
Tomassetti, Art, contributor
Wheeler, Winslow, contributor
White, Hugh, contributor
Williams, Alan, contributor