Australia's planned purchase of Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) is among programmes likely to be affected by up to a $4 billion ($2.7 billion) worth of defence spending cuts likely to be approved this week, writes Peter La Franchi.

The National Security Committee (NSC), a cabinet subcommittee, is expected to endorse the cuts when it meets on 30 October to stabilise the Australian Defence Force's 10-year Defence Capability Plan (DCP). The NSC is expected to block funding increases for equipment acquisitions up to 2013, signalling further project cuts within the next five years.

Senior government sources say the NSC intends to freeze future defence equipment spending at targets established in December 2001.

The latest DCP will fund new equipment for 2008-13 in generic terms, compared with the previous highly accurate costing and timing guidance for 2003-8. It will incorporate requirements to explore offshore production of the 30 most expensive new capability requirements and buying second-hand equipment from the USA.

Source: Flight International