The Australian Defense Force has been accused of wasting billions of dollars after dumping retired fighter jets in the middle of the Pacific.
The F/A-18A/B Hornets, costing up to $90 million each, are currently gathering dust at the US Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, a US territory.
Australian Strategic Policy Institute analyst Malcom Davis said he had “no idea” why the planes had been ditched so unceremoniously.
“They’re in pretty bad shape because they’ve been stored outside, so they’re basically rusting,” he said.
Suggestions have been made to give the planes to Ukraine to help fight the Russian invasion, but Dr. Davis said they were out of date.
Australia has ditched its retired fleet of F/A-18A/B Hornets at a US air base on the remote Pacific island of Guam.
The F/A-18 served as Australia’s front-line fighter from the mid-1980s to the early 200s
“They’re very old, they’re not capable of having all the modern systems on board in terms of modern air combat, so that’s why we got rid of them and replaced them with the Joint Strike Fighters,” said Dr. Davis.
“It’s not really what the Ukrainians are asking of us. The Ukrainians are asking for Bushmasters and Hawkei armored vehicles, things like that. They don’t ask for fighter jets.
“We got rid of them (the planes) because we replaced them with much more capable planes. It’s early ’80s technology.”
In 2020, it was reported that the retired Hornets had been sold to American entrepreneur Don Kirlin, whose company Air USA would contract them as ‘opposition aircraft’ for the US military to use in training exercises.
The sale, for an unknown amount, appears to have fallen through.
Australia decided to purchase 75 F/A-18A/B Hornets from the US in 1981 to replace the French-made Mirage jets that had served as the RAAF’s front-line fighters.
Upgraded each year, the Hornets were delivered between 1985 and 1990, with the last F/A-18 being retired in 2001 before the fleet was replaced by the F-35A Lightning II.
In 2010, Australia buried its fleet of F-111 fighter/bombers near Brisbane.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the Australian Defense Force for comment.
Mr Davis said Australia’s defense strategy, as outlined in a major review delivered to the Albanian government last week, is “the right step forward” and focuses on “impactful” force projection rather than defending the continent.
He defended the centerpiece of Australia’s recent arms build-up, the $368 billion defense pact with the US and Britain that led to Australia building its own nuclear-powered attack submarines.
“If we want to be sure, we have to spend that money,” he said, pointing out that the money would be spent over a 30-year period.
American entrepreneur Don Kirlin is said to have purchased the Hornets in 2020 to be used as ‘opposition’ aircraft for the US military to use in training exercises.
Military analyst Dr Malcolm Davis has dismissed a suggestion that the retired fighters could help defend Ukraine
“I don’t agree with anyone who says these things aren’t worth it. I think we are entering a period of extreme risk, so we need to spend a lot more money on defence.’
Davis bumped into former Prime Minister Paul Keating, who called AUKUS the “worst deal in history” in an extraordinary Press Club speech in March.
Mr Keating argued that AUKUS would bind Australia to the US sphere of command and was a huge expense that could have been better spent on cheaper submarines to defend mainland Australia, to which China posed little threat.
“Keating has no credibility whatsoever,” Dr. Davis said.
“He knows nothing about modern warfare, and he demonstrated it dramatically when he spoke at the Press Club, when his whole argument was extremely foolish and completely devoid of factual basis.
“His idea that the nuclear-powered submarines we get will tie us into some sort of US war plan, which is nonsense. They will be sovereign Australian boats, we will make our own decisions about how to use them.’
Dr. Davis rejected claims that Australia was behaving as the aggressor by buying the new submarines, which are designed as long-range fighters of enemy ships.
“If you look at what’s happening in the region, it’s the Chinese who are massively building their capabilities without any kind of transparency,” he said.
“They’re not willing to get into any discussion about their plans or any kind of arms control, they’re massively building up their nuclear weapons capabilities, their naval capabilities, so they’re the ones who are the aggressors here, not us.”
He said the scenario on the minds of Australian defense planners would be a war with China over the island of Taiwan, with the mainland’s ruling communist party vowing to unite by force if necessary.
In a highly memorable Press Club speech in March, former Prime Minister Paul Keating was scathing about the AUKUS defense pact
He rejected the argument that defending Taiwan was not in Australia’s national interest or a “Chinese” matter.
Dr. Davis said that if China invaded, like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it would “completely undermine the rules-based order, it would completely undermine stability in the IndoPacific region.”
“You get a region dominated by hegemonic China, an authoritarian state determined to impose its will on the region and you have to think about what that means for us.
“In 2020, China gave us a list of grievances and demands and if we met their demands, today we wouldn’t be a liberal democratic state and you wouldn’t have a free press.”