Most critics wanted a decent bomber to replace the aging F-111 bombers, like the F-22 Raptor. However, the US has ruled out foreign sales of the F-22.
The leaves Australia only with the vapourware F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which is years, and may never be any good anyway. The F-18F, despite its name, is a very different aircraft from the F-18 Hornet. Although it is larger than the F-18, it still has poor range, and is no match for an F-111 or for the Su-30s that other air forces in the region have. In other words, we are outgunned by neighboring countries for the next 25 years or so.
Here's what the experts have to say.
Govt spends $6b on new fighter-bombers
US fighter to fill air defence gap