While I am no way a fan of John Howard, it's a shame that we're not getting a little more balance and/or research from our newspapers as they report on the current long range missile issue. So far, I have seen no obvious mention of the fact that Indonesia and many other of our neighbouring nations are in the process of purchasing the formidable Sukhoi Su-27/30 Flanker air superiority fighter. These aircraft already represent considerable danger to our F-18's and F-111's, especially when armed with the latest long range missiles on the market.
Combine the all too real threat of the Su-27/30 with doubts over the already delayed F-35's capability and it is clear that if Australia wants to continue its current military arrangement, something must be found to maintain balance. A long range missile that allows accurate strikes on ground-based targets from beyond the range of the Su-27/30 is a possible solution.
Of course, the whole need for military posturing and escalations is left as a separate exercise.