07 December 2012

Canada Ditches F-35

Canada has decided to ditch the F-35 and go a different direction.

The F-35 jet fighter purchase, the most persistent thorn in the Harper government’s side and the subject of a devastating auditor-general’s report last spring, is dead.

Faced with the imminent release of an audit by accountants KPMG that will push the total projected life-cycle costs of the aircraft above $30-billion, the operations committee of cabinet decided Tuesday evening to scrap the controversial sole-source program and go back to the drawing board, a source familiar with the decision said.

This occurred after Chief of the Defence Staff Thomas Lawson, while en route overseas, was called back urgently to appear before the committee, the source said.

The decision is sure to have ripple effects around the world, as any reduction in the number of aircraft on order causes the price to go up for all the other buyers. Canada is one of nine F-35 consortium members, including the United States.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay is not a member of the cabinet operations committee. It remains unclear whether he was present at the meeting Tuesday. However, MacKay is a member of the cabinet Priorities and Planning committee, which is to discuss the F-35 decision Friday morning.

The F-18s currently flown by the RCAF are at the tail end of their life cycle and are not expected to be operable much beyond 2020, at the outside.

By: Brant


Jack Nastyface said...

I am neither surprised nor disappointed to see this get tabled. Although I love the concept of air superiority fighters, IMHO I think Canada has and will have a greater need to deploy more small and large UAVs (armed and recce).

I would also like to see some real CAS aircraft incorporated into the Cdn arsenal.

The F-35 is just too much "fast mover" for the kind of conflicts in which we are and may be engaged. Even if future "Libyan intervention" missions become necessary...do we really need supersonic fighters to estabish air-superiority (and then provide weapons delivery) over nations that don't have effective air cover / air defense capabilities?


Jack Nastyface

Brian said...

Jack's right, and I've said this before: Canada should get ahead of the curve for once, and ditch manned aircraft as much as possible. Leave some transport aircraft (Canada has nothing bigger than the Hercules, and the fleet is much degraded through overuse) and get some good CAS aircraft (A-10s - hell, let's bring back the A-1 Skyraider!). It's that simple.

But this is exactly what will not happen, because the Canadian defence establishement is run by Air Force types, and the Air Force is run by fighter pilots. It's that simple too.