But isn't it interesting what time and a change of government can achieve?
According to The West Australian's aviation writer, (and the West must have one of the worst newspaper websites in the world - as far as I can see the article isn't online, which is typical for it), the F/A 18F Super Hornet represents a brilliant decision by the Royal Australian Air Force.
Whereas at the time then defence minister Brendan Nelson announced the decision it was presented in The Australian as being a surprise choice he sprung on suitably surprised air marshals who didn't want them.
Then there was this later piece of work by Ian McPhedran in the Herald Sun that can only be described as spectacularly stupid:
But it is the Super Hornets generating immediate political heat, which will surprise no one.The Super Hornets are designed and built to operate from aircraft carriers.Australia doesn't have an aircraft carrier, so why are we buying them?That's obviously the question that new Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon has put to our defence chiefs.
Well, um, our original F/A-18C Hornets were also designed to operate from aircraft carriers, (that's why they have foldable wings and tail hooks), and we didn't have an aircraft carrier back then either.
But despite all of Joel Fitzgibbon's blatant politicking about the choice, the review of the purchase found in the plane's favour.
I found this little snippet in McPhedran's piece from a strategic analyst amusing, supposedly providing some insight into why Nelson "defied" expert advice and committed us to a multi-billion dollar purchase of doubtful utility:
Dr Nelson, now Opposition Leader, plans on being around in politics for a long time, so presumably he will be around to watch his "gap filler" plan come to fruition.
I think it was in Aviation News around the time the decision was made that a very different version of events, ie that it was the air marshals who wanted the plane and they got what they wanted, was given.
And say what you want about the aeroplane and its potential adversaries, Boeing has been producing them for the United States Navy on time and under budget. A rarity in military procurement indeed.