F-22 export update

An interesting article from the Melbourne Age, especially in light of my earlier post on prospects for the export of the Lockheed Martin F-22.

Aussies can be trusted with F-22: Gates

February 25, 2008 – 10:06PM

Australia could be trusted with the United States’ Lockheed F-22 Raptor fighter, US defence secretary Robert Gates says.

Currently an Act of the US Congress bars any foreign sales of the Raptor.

The aircraft is the US Air Force’s most advanced fighter and its sale is prohibited to any foreign country, under a 1998 amendment to a budget bill moved by Wisconsin Democrat Congressman Dave Obey.

Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon said last week he would write to Congressman Obey to gauge his views on a change in the law.

Mr Gates, in Canberra for the annual Australia-US Ministerial (AUSMIN) talks at the weekend, said on Monday it was inappropriate for Australia to make its case directly to Congress.

“I think it probably is at the end of the day not appropriate for Australia to make its case directly to the Congress, to change the law. I think that’s my job and the job of the administration,” he told ABC Television.

“The reality is we have a law that prohibits the United States from selling F-22 to any country.

“Others, such as Japan, want the F-22 and we are in a position – we can’t sell them the F-22 either.

“So I think it’s up to us to try and see if we can get this statute changed.”

When asked if there was any reason why Australia could not be trusted with the F-22, Mr Gates replied: “Absolutely not.”

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