Cancelling the MRH-90 helicopter project was the right call but it should have never been selected.
Yet again the government had based military procurement decisions on the basis of how many jobs they could appear to create in swing States rather than the ability of the asset to do the the job.
Defence always wanted Blackhawks as they were a combat-proven aircraft that they had experience but the Howard government insisted on the MRH-90 as they could be assembled in Queensland and thus help buy some votes.
ADF Procurement hall of shame
- MRH-90 helicopters – cancelled Dec 21 ( $B 35 )
- Tiger helicopters – cancelled Jan 21 – to be replaced with AH-64E Apache Guardian ($B 4.5)
- SH-2G(A) Super Seasprite helicopters – cancelled 2008 ($B 1 billion)
- F-35 Joint Strike Fighter – a short-range, low capability ground attack aircraft with little capability to defend Australia against modern fighter aircraft, combat ships or submarines.
- Hunter class frigates – to be built ($B 5+ each) – indefensible against modern anti-ship weaponry
- Nuclear submarines – to be built at huge cost in Australia despite no history of building nuclear submarines. If ever completed they would be unable to be used in shallow water around Australia or (as intended by this government) near some future adversary.
- New armoured vehicles – to be built at high cost in Australia to buy votes but to be of little value in defending Australia or even assisting our allies overseas.
- Dumping the ADF’s MRH-90 helicopters is the right call, but why now? (Marcus Hellyer, ASPI, Dec 2021)
- Australia chooses Apache as Tiger helicopter replacement (Malcolm Davis, ASPI, Jan 2021)
- Defence department keeping details of its projects of concern secret from the public (ABC, June 2019)
- Sorry tale of Australian defence procurement (Flight Global, Feb 2009)