Actually what Canada should have done is had it's own competition to have someone design a aircraft for our needs and produce it in Canada. I don't care if a Canadian, American, British, or French company won it, as long as the competition was open to Canadian companies, the jets are built in Canada, and the cost is 1/2 to 3/4 of the F-35.
Excellent idea. This puts me in mind of the Keystone pipeline, for that matter; wouldn't Canada's interests be served by refining the stuff here and then sending it down to the Americans? More jobs here and we could build up our own expertise in the energy sector. We should be hard-bargaining on these and other matters.
The first dozen or so F-35s slated to arrive in Canada won't be equipped with software that allows the stealth fighters to communicate with ground forces, a feature designed to prevent incidents of friendly fire.
The initial operating system also won't be equipped with a program that helps the fighters communicate with older aircraft, such as the Air Force's Aurora surveillance planes.
The software isn't expected to be added until an upgrade program is introduced in 2019 – three years after the Royal Canadian Air Force begins taking delivery the advanced multi-role fighter.
The absence of both items in the initial operating system is alluded to in heavily censored access-to-information documents, obtained by The Canadian Press and referenced in military publications in the United States.
The Canadian government claims it will only have to pay $75 million per plane. Yet it is inconceivable that a cash-strapped U.S. Congress would tolerate a multi-billion dollar subsidy to Canada. The Pentagon has earmarked $151 million for each of its planes, while the US Government Accounting Office is projecting an actual cost of $156 million.
The Pentagon official in charge of the F-35 project said major cracks and "hot spots" have been discovered in the stealth fighter's airframe, creating a fresh challenge to Canada's plan to acquire 65 F-35s for $9 billion.
At the same time, analysts south of the border expect more delays and cost issues to arise when the U.S. defense secretary unveils a massively downsized military budget sometime in the next couple of months.
In an interview with AOL Defense published Thursday, U.S. Vice-Admiral David Venlet said Pentagon officials were surprised by the extent of the problems discovered in the fighter's structure during recent testing.
Read the whole article - I particularly like the line calling the F-35 the "low-hanging fruit" in the Pentagon's cost-cutting exercise, part of the massive budget cuts that the U.S. government has to do following the demise of the "supercommittee".
If the Conservatives go ahead with this purchase, we're going to have a very, very expensive white elephant on our backs...
While expressing concerns about the U.S. government's commitment to the F-35 program, a senior Norwegian official told a parliamentary committee Thursday his government is committed to purchasing the stealth fighters, and he encouraged Canada to follow suit.