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Is Australia Going to Change Its Mind on the F-35B?

HMAS Adelaide. By Nick Thorne – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Some inklings that the Aussies may be reconsidering in light of Japan’s decision to convert the Izumos…

Perhaps inevitably, Japan’s decision to modify its Izumo-class aircraft carriers to operate the F-35B has rekindled debate over the ships in Australia. For reasons good and ill, military procurement decisions often have a transnational impact; civilians and soldiers feel the need to match their friends as well as their enemies, and big acquisitions can change the symbolic landscape that military organizations operate in. The Japanese decision also has more practical consequences, as it increases the interoperability returns for an Australian acquisition, and may marginally reduce the cost of buying the F-35B. Indeed, in light of the British decision to fly F-35Bs from its two large carriers, almost all of Australia’s major defense partners will field carrier-borne F-35Bs.


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