Stephen Smith's 11th-hour flight option

Australia's current JSF plans will see it lose autonomy of its own airspace by 2025, but there is an answer to Stephen Smith's dilemma if he's willing to put politics aside.

The Australian's foreign editor, Greg Sheridan, has revealed for the first time the choice Australian defence chiefs plan to put before Defence Minister Stephen Smith in a few months.

Smith will be asked to decide whether to buy more F-18 Super Hornets or buy the F-35 – the so-called the Joint Strike Fighter.

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