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Analyst expects F-35 jets to cost double what Ottawa expects

Price could rise to $148 million per jet once they’re built


 

A U.S. defence industry analyst predicts Canada will end up paying nearly double what the federal government has budgeted for its fleet of F-35 fighter jets. Winslow Wheeler, of the Centre for Defence Information, told reporters in Ottawa that by the time the jets are fully tested and ready for purchase, the price will likely climb to $148 million per jet. “Nobody on this earth” is going to get them for the $75 million a piece the Conservative government estimated, he said. Wheeler has worried for more than 30 years on Capitol Hill for Republican and Democrat senators and for the U.S. General Accounting Office.

CBC News


 
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Analyst expects F-35 jets to cost double what Ottawa expects

  1. maybe you should spell check your content – "worked for more than 30 years" not "worried for more than 30 years"

    • Proofread, not "spell check". The spelling is correct, but the word "worried" (although humorous in this case) was used unintentionally in the sentence.

      • I wonder if he made a mistake. After all

  2. According to Winslow Wheeler on both P & P and Power Play yesterday this price Laurie Hawn is using does not include the engine, electronics or armament .But damn won't Peter look good sitting in the cockpit .
    ,

    • You would actually believe anything Winslow Wheeler would say? Oh dear… I am sure there is help out there somewhere….

      • Mr Wheeler's numbers are closer to our PBO and the American equivant . Apparently these three have it wrong and Laurie Hawn has it right? Had the government not tried to use cabinet confidentiality and stall the process they would have had their estimates out in public last fall. Instead they choose to be found in contempt of parliament
        Why you would believe the likes of Laurie Hawn is beyond me. Oh dear…. i'm sure there is help out there somewhere

    • You impugn, but don't specify. Which of Mr. Wheeler's points, specifically, do you challenge?

      • Which points does a person challenge? How about the idea that Wheeler is an expert of the needs of the Air Force. His whole arguement was the US military should stop the F-35 and start a new program to build a jet, – without stealth. Even though every other serious Air Force in the World is developing or fielding a stealth fighter in the coming years/decades. If it was up to Wheeler and Sprey a new aircraft would be like the F-86 Sabre but with bigger guns. That is their actual quote, no need for radar or anything else. These guys are stuck in the 1960s.

  3. Well I've come to the conclusion nobody knows how much a yet to be completed F-35 will cost.

    Keep in mind that Wheeler makes his living digging up dirt on US military purchases. His big beef is the "pork" in Rep./Dem. deals. He hates the F-22 jet as well. Interesting that the Rideau Institute (left-leaning, pro-NGOs) would host this guy.
    http://www.c-span.org/Events/Winslow-Wheeler-Cent

    • HE IS AN ACTIVIST NOT AN ANALYST….

      • What is genuinely troubling is that our media — and in particular this magazine and the CBC — are so far left-wing and never honestly report anything. Virtually everything they produce is a Liberal-Party-slanted distortion of fact at best (so far as I can tell).

        Naturally, therefore, all you will ever see in this publication is the rantings of activists — pro-Liberal activists.

        • Why can't we get a nailed down, air-tight price? Why do we have to give a blank check when purchasing aircraft? How is it reasonable to agree to buy something when you can't say with any certainty whether it will cost 75$ million, $150 million or $400 million? Maybe that's de rigeur with military procurement, but that just means that the procurement process is absolutely insane.

  4. oh we need a lot of those! Time to plant in Manitoba soon, could use a jet or two

  5. Excuse me.
    148 million x 65 Jets = 9.92 Billion. Peter Mckay said they would cost about 9 Billion give or take.

    Thats exactly what we expect. And that over 30 years = 2cents for every man women and child per month for 30 years.
    Please do the math.

    • This comment was deleted.

      • 75Million was the estimate for the Frame….

    • Scott, here's the math…

      "The $9 billion will cover the purchase of 65 Conventional Take-off and Landing (CTOL) variant F-35 aircraft, along with initial logistical support (including simulators and spares), associated weapons, infrastructure, project management and contingency costs."

      This is from the DND. See below. So there are huge ancilliary costs; if the DND are off on the costing of the jets by a factor of two, we can assume that ancilliary costs may also be inaccurate.
      http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/pri/2/pro-pro/ngfc-f

      They claim that the F-35 will be relied on for forty years, but have only budgeted for twenty; add another factor of two. This is getting exponential.

      What exactly is the reasoning that an open competition wouldn't be a good idea? It's only the DND's standard procurement policy, which is apparently and suddenly without merit in the most expensive defence acquisition in our nation's history. Given the huge stakes in this decision, why is this exception being made? This is the sort of project for which clarity of process is essential.

      Let's hold a competition, invite the world to compete for this contract, and let the chips fall where they may.

      • <div id="idc-comment-msg-div-140599241" class="idc-message"><a class="idc-close" title="Click to Close Message" href="javascript: IDC.ui.close_message(140599241)"><span>Close Message</span> Comment posted. <p class="idc-nomargin"><a class="idc-share-facebook" target="_new" href="http://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww2.macleans.ca%2F2011%2F04%2F06%2Fanalyst-expects-f-35-jets-to-cost-double-what-ottawa-expects%2F%23idc-container#IDComment140599241&t=I%20just%20commented%20on%20Analyst%20expects%20F-35%20jets%20to%20cost%20double%20what%20Ottawa%20expects%20-%20Need%20to%20know%20-%20Macleans.ca&quot; style="text-decoration: none;"><span class="idc-share-inner"><span>Share on Facebook</span></span> or <a href="javascript: IDC.ui.close_message(140599241)">Close MessageWell now, the Liberals bought our F-18A's (CF-118) back in the 1980's. They bought them with just one upload of armaments, insufficient spare parts, manuals, etc… and they came in way over budget.

        Iggy would cancel the buy, just like Chretien cancelled the helicopters. That would cost us almost as much as buying them, put our pilot's lives at risk for years and leave us unable to meet our international commitments to NATO and NORAD. Then, of course, they would wind up buying them all over again, this time in stripped down form, without the spare parts, without the manuals, without the training, and for twice as much money as we would have paid had we just stayed the course — just like the helicopters.

        It really is time to stop playing politics with the lives of our Armed Forces personnel.

        As for an international competition — there really aren't any viable contenders right now. Why? Because interoperability with our allies, the US in particular, is vital to the role of the Canadian Forces in NATO and NORAD.

        Sorry, chum, but I think you are disgracing your monicker. In its day, Arrow RL206 was the best of the best and the first with the then-incomparable Orenda Iroquois engines.

        • So, cancelling a (non-existent) contract will cost us almost $30B? Who would sign a (non-existent) contract like that?

          The GAO reported that due to the huge delays in development of the F-35, Initial Operational Capability won't likely be achieved until 2018. More than enough time to run a properly tendered open competition.

          Interoperability? The F-35 isn't even interoperable with our current fleet of aerial tankers…never mind landing and taking off at secondary or unprepared runways shorter than 3000 ft.

          Interoperability is a canard; members of NATO and NORAD currently and HAVE ALWAYS operated a wide variety of planes for over 60 years. Interoperability is fairly easily achieved with compatible com-links and transponders…

          Oh, we're fixing the aerial-refueling problem? And adding drag chutes? I wonder who is going to pay for the rating and recertification of these modifications? At how much extra cost? The Chinook helicopter purchase ballooned 70% more than the generals testified it would when add-ons were included. The Auditor General has stated there's an even greater risk this would happen in a sole-sourced F-35.

          Yes, I have to agree with you…the RL206 would have been a beautiful bird. Damn the Conservatives and their air defence policies, eh?

          • It is the policy of the DND that if only one system/item mets the criteria there is no need for a competition. For example the C-17 contract, the Chinooks, and the C-130J, only one aircraft fit the bill. It cuts down on acquisition time, lobbying and court bills. DND has said the F-35 is the only 5th gen fighter to fight the needs of the CAF for the next 30+ years.

            The F-35 will actually have the ability to be refueled in flight, as detailed in the cost break down on the F-35 Canada site.

            As for landing on runways shorter than 3000ft our Harvard II turbo-prop trainers are restricted from operating on runways 3000ft or less, I would hope this is also the case for a much heavier faster jet. Unless you want to use the tail hook on every landing then it is possible.

          • The sole sourcing on the C-17, Chinooks and Hercs was not ideal, but more forgivable, seeing as they were required to serve deployed troops in a combat zone. We do not have that immediate, pressing need to replace the CF-18.

            If the F-35 is all that its' proponents claim, there shouldn't be any problem proving it in a competition. This works both ways; a competition is also the only way to prove to detractors that it is not an overpriced, underwhelming slug of a plane.

            What is the downside to a competition?

          • "if only one system/item meets the criteria there is no need for a competition" which means the criteria for the system/item is written with the help of the manufacturer. it's all a scam.

      • Why don't we lease them? Just another option/opinion.
        Better yet, hire the Arrow team back, build them ourselves, and sell them to???????

    • I did the math on 30 billion, But we are talking over 30 years not one year. Iggy was sorry IS being shady, healthcare costs more than 30 Billion in ONE year. So, that thousand dollars he is talking about for every man women and child is about healthcare.
      These Jets will cost with all in 30 billion for 30 years (thats what the liberals say.)
      Next point, we already pay for the F18's to be kept up, just spent 2 Billion for an upgrade, So, the "new" spending will be just the 9 Billion, the other is what we pay yearly already and would continue. Except that new stuff will be in better shape for a while need less work on them. And I hope have better metals, better science etc.
      Remember Harper lowered taxes for every man women and child by $3000, so really, the jets will cost us nothing. Tax payers will not have to pay new taxes to cover this cost. (thats what happens when the economy grows.) Walmart makes less over greater sales, producing more revenue. Harper is importing 250,000 people per year. You do the math.

  6. Our military vets,miltary structure and operation should not be a political tool for partisan opportunity – our defense,sovern protection and International obligations are too important – there are no experts ( certainly not in political parties) when it comes to need for power to protect. The liberals started this process in 1996, the currrent gov follows thru on the same process and we have spent $278mil to date.
    Take the politics and biases out – our sovern protection is to important and our soldiers needs are too important – we have to believe/agree with the parties in power in 1996 and the current gov that this is the right decision for CANADA!!

  7. The procurement of F35s should be cancelled for two reasons. Firstly, we have no military need for it. Secondly, we should not be burdening our children and grandchildren with this colossal waste of money which they will have to pay back.

    There is no credible threat that could be countered by our few F35s. The interception of the odd Russian aircraft just outside our territorial borders has been going on since the 60s. The intercepts were done with CF101s and now with CF18s. The Russian aircraft presented no threat then and are no threat now. An all out attack would be insane and involve ICBMs. No role for the F35 here!

    The threat we face is an economic threat.

    The threat is that stupid actions by our government will bankrupt our country. We will then be obliged to sell control of our resources to the highest bidder thus losing "sovereignty". We need to counter the economic threat to our Arctic, protect our coastal fisheries, deal with internal unrest, root out terrorist cells, keep our country financially viable, etc. A tactical force with suitable air transport is what is needed. No role for the F35.

    In support of our most important ally and neighbour, we must ensure that they are never threatened by activities that occur or originate in this country. That will allow them to handle the "big stuff". In that regard, they always have! To say otherwise is to be kidding ourselves about our own importance.

    • Agree – fiscally responsiblity, and strong economic mgmt provides the support for the infrastructure necessary for our sovern protection. Note 2 major wars were international and Canada was involved before the USA. There are no experts in what our sovern needs are – history proves its too complex. But we do elect governments and the electorate has to believe/agree that our goverments ( in this F-35 case two different political parties and senior public servants ) would have made the right choices for us.In addition, our miltary provides many other services including coastal patrols and despite my defense of trusting the governments in power to do it right we have economics;.how do we justify $2Billion ( and growing) on a Gun Registry(?), a few $Billion on a G8/G20 seminar(?),employing the Bloc members using the Canadian Government Payroll and then they refuse to work on our behalf, make work projects? – an arena or 2? …..paying for flood control dykes and then removing them? etc etc and these are the few we know about….maybe a need to get the priorities right- we are in a deficit then all these non – fiscally responsible expenditures must be a greater economic treat?

      • I may be getting old but the numbers (amount) seems awfully high. My home computer could probably handle the information. I'll make my own database, moniter it, add new names and other information and charge mmmmmmmmmm
        1-2 million saving the taxpayer (myself included) approx. 2 billion – 3 million plus GST/PST/HST/graft feesand something for the political partiesmmmmmmmm I can save Canada 1 billion per year. We got a deal??????
        No need to check the figures, trust me.

    • You state that "we have no military need for it". Wrong. Our major allies are the United States and the United Kingdom. Both have chosen to purchase the F-35 along with Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Norway, Denmark, Israel and Singapore. Interoperability is a key military requirement. Our existing fighter aircraft are well past their "best-before-date" and desperately need to be replaced lest they fall apart. We have been cannibalizing the fleet for years already.

      As for the "credible threat" from Russia, you may not have realized that they are on a massive buying spree unlike anything since the Cold War. They have recently been testing our northern perimeter with long range bomber patrols. Then there is China — expanding their military at a staggering rate. History has proven that those that have no defence will sooner or later wish they had.

      Yes, we do face a large economic threat — it is documented in the Liberal Red Book. Higher taxes on business will shut down our fragile economic recovery.

      As for relying on the citizenry of another country to pay for our defence, that is morally wrong. It is also completely and utterly laughably stupid.

      • If we were going to be bombed it would come with such force involving both bombers and ICBMs that 65 F35s would be useless. Further, currently and for the forseeable future only Russia and China might be able to theoretically carry out that insanity. The big question is why would they do that? With such a massive move they would be risking world wide retaliation. They want access to the resources which we consider to be on Canadian soil. To get it they are either buying it up or proceeding with claims in International arenas. Bombing us into oblivion would not accomplish their aims.

        Further, if an airliner approaching any major airport in the world turns rogue it would be on its intended target before any meaningful action could be taken to stop it. No role for the F35. In this case we must simply be ready to pick up the pieces that such an insane action would cause.

        I am not against spending tax dollars on the defence of our country. Since they are my tax dollars too, I want them spent wisely. Not on symbolic toys!

        By the way, in a theoretical 1960s mass bomber raid on Canada our 65 aircraft would be totally overwhelmed. They could not defend Vancouver Island.

        • Too bad you haven't got a clue what you are talking about, willoway. As usual, a left-wing no-brain approach.

          • How are 65 f-35s going to stop an attack on Canada? Anyone who would try it has us outgunned 10 or 20 to 1. We've lost before those f-35s get off the runway. If we're seriously concerned about defending ourselves, we should invest in a few thousand ICBMs.

      • In your opinion.

  8. Sorting through the bs seems to be the issue during the election. The conservatives maintain that the F35 is the best deal for Canada. The liberals, ndp, and block say the purchase will cost 30 billion dollars and they will cancel it. The best I can tell is that it will cost 30 billion over about 25 years with the yearly expense being higher during the years we take delivery of the planes and less throughout the balance of their life to maintain them and pay for upgrades. A concern I have about the F35 is that it is very dependent on the onboard computer programming. 5.7 million lines of code that requires constant upgrading (lifetime upgrades may cost more than the original sticker price). My question is , do we really need complicated plane or could we make do with the F18 E/F which is a newer version of our existing front line fighter. It seems our pilots and maintenance crews could move seemlessly over to this model. Who do we trust to give us an unbiased opinion.

    • The F-18E/F is really a new airplane, although derived from the F-18, It would not be as simple as replacing your 2005 Toyota with a 2010 model, it is as complicated a process as buying an all-new aircraft in terms of training and acquisition of maintenance facilities. It is also an aircraft that, like all newer generation planes, relies heavily on electronics for detection and survival. Not as advanced as the F-35 (which is the most advanced in the world) but complex anyway. The biggest problem with the Superhornet is that it is, even for the US, really an interim aircraft. It will be replaced by the F-35 within ten years or so. Once that happens the US will no longer need the updates to its software and other avionics that will be required for the remaining 30 years we would operate that plane. The resulting costs to us would be enormous. As well, as it nears the end of its production run the opportunities for Canadian industry to take part in production are very limited, unlike the F-35. I would trust our air force to give us advice on the issue of what airplane would best do the jobs we are going to ask them to do.

      • Well said, Mike R!

        Certain it is, the F18-E/F is a good aircraft for today's environment, but it is rapidly nearing the point of obsolescence. If you read the US procurement plans, as i suspect you may have, it is apparent that the US Navy and Marine Corps do not intend to operate these aircraft for any length of time since they will not be survivable in a high-risk environment within about 10 years. The F35 will not reach that point for many years to come.

  9. This argument does not hold water.Prices rise in all areas over several years when something is in the development and building stage .Is that a reason to leave the lives of our young pilots in jeopardy because of cost.Lets face it. Can MacLeans any print media any broadcast media guarantee me they will not raise their per copy or their cable charges or any other type of consumer business..The Liberals are such hypocrites defending a Taliban killer and condemning our soldiers.These people are really terrible Canadians claiming to have the taxpayer interest at heart .One word Ad-scam

    • BINGO!!!!!!!!

  10. If the Conservatives hadn't scrapped the Avro Arrow it would still be the best and fastest combat jet in the world and we would still be flying it

    • Largo, the AVRO Arrow was indeed a marvel in its day — 1958. It would certainly have been a great aircraft for our Air Force for many years.

      The Arrows, evne the Mark III would have been retired from service by now and a worthy replacement would have been procured or built. It had a large radar cross-section resulting from its engine intakes, sharpish corners, boxy fuselage and saw-toothed leading edges. Its fire control systems were largely analogue computer-based. Its then-stellar performance would have been, by now, quite inadequate. They would have ceased to be survivable many years ago.

      Would AVRO and other Canadian firms have been able to provide us with a viable replacement by now had the Arrow not been scrapped on Black Friday? Perhaps. Sadly we will never know for sure.

      • I haven't done the research, but I suspect that it isn't that simple, you do know we had both nuclear weapons on our soil, and chemical weapons, we also supplied a large amount of Plutonium to the States. There was a lot going on. the Death of the Avro Arrow may have been a way of dealing with Russia in a passive way, while cutting costs at the time. We are like a insulation between two strong states, and I think that helps keep the blood pressure down. And that is one of the reasons we have kept a lower profile.

        I would hope in 20 years Russia and the USA and Canada will be like best buddies, now that things are so Globalized. cont"

        • Scott_G … I suggest that you should go and do that research. As for supplying Plutonium to the US… NO! We supplied lots of Uranium. We did not and do not have the capacity to manufacture Plutonium, lacking as we do fast breeder reactors. Plutonium is manufactured inside nuclear reactors, but the process to get that separated is fairly complex and expensive.

          The United States built large plants to produce enriched Uranium.. a higher concentration of U-235 being the goal since U-238 is less fissile. This involved the construction of the plant at Oak Ridge Tenessee using gas-diffusion and gas centrifuges and involving the incredibly corrosive material Uranium Hexafluoride. Once the enriched U-235 is produced, then, in limited quantities, U-238 is placed in carefully controlled places within the reactor in order to absorb an extra neutron, becoming in the process Pu-239 (plutonium), the stuff needed for relatively efficient nuclear weapons.

          As for nuclear weapons on Canadian soil — yes, we did have American-owned nuclear weapons on Canadian soil in the 1960's and early 70's under the Liberal governments of Lester B. Pearson and Pierre Elliot Trudeau. Many of these were stored at Comox, Cold Lake and Baggotville as warheads for Genie air-to-air missiles.

          As for your suggestion that the death of the Arrow was a way of dealing with the Rudssians… You really don't have a clue, do you?

          As I say, best go and do some research. I lived through all this stuff and actually do know what I am talking about. You, clearly, do not.

      • My fear is China, one of their subs was seen looking around in the waters around Libya within 50 miles of an American Aircraft Carrier. tell me that cause consern. There is a whole new dynamic going on, and this F35 may be part of the way to keep things quiet in the world. Nukes are too out of scale, so there needs to be something a bit less blow a nation off the map kind of weapon to deal with threats smaller than total world wipe out. (so said all that to say, its possible the Aro's vaporization was a good thing at that time, even with the losses, it may have been for a bigger gain.)

    • If the Liberals hadn't gutted the military in the 1990s and got us into the the war in Afghanistan, the Conservatives would not have to be spending billions to rebuild the military.

      So things don't change, according to the Liberals platform today, they would cancel a needed military project (Sea King Fiasco Part II), stop all acquisitions of miltary gear, and return to 1990s peacekeeping AKA gutting the Canadian Forces.

      • Well Said, CAF Supporter.

  11. I'd like to know where these proposed jets will be built? If they're to be built in Canada-no problem- even if they are never used in combat. The jobs thus provide to Canadian workers, is money well spent as far as I'm concerned.

  12. It always strikes me as a tremendous waste that a little country like Canada that couldn't whip Switzerland in a fight has to purchase top of the line yet to be developed military equipment. Why can't we buy something off the shelf that is already flying that some other country has paid through the nose for.

    • Buying obsolete hardware is a good way to get Canadian personnel killed.

    • We couldn't whip Switzerland because they take their security seriously. For such a small country they field a very capable army/air force, at one time every citizen had to do time in the military. If Canada wanted to be neutral the Swiss model would be one to follow, considering they have newer Hornets than we do, they field more modern aircraft. A F-35 buy would be a good decision.

  13. What a load of Liberal Party nonsense! I am so sick and tired of this magazine's and the CBC's left-wing bias that I consider both to be unworthy of reading.

    You and your leftist supporters are not fit to be called "Canadians", in my view.

    • Last I heard this magazine and the CBC are not mandatory reading for anyone. If they aren't singing your song find another channel more to your liking.
      Since when is it un-Canadian to what to hear other points of view and contribute to the discussion?
      You do little to advance your agenda (whatever it is) when you make off topic , insulting and unsubstantiated comments.
      I find many of the comments on these boards are well thought out positions that may differ from mine but will make me re-examine my own . Yours isn't one of them.

    • take two aspirins and a nap

  14. Wow.. here's a great idea! How about we as a people, buy that plane, then figure out how to hang some kind of weaponry on it (perhaps a pea-shooter?), then send you and your kind into harms way in Afghanistan in it and see how long you survive. After all, it was the Liberals that got us into that one…..

  15. " You gotta pay to play "

  16. Unfortunately, if you only look at the role of our Air Force, as defined by our politicians for the last half century, air defense of North America is only a small part of it. Most of the actual combat missions our Forces are likely to be involved in are tied to NATO and to the UN. That means that they will be operating in various theaters with varying levels of threat to our aircraft and personnel.

    Your argument is specious.

    • Are you saying that the primary mission for our air force is NOT the controlling the airspace over our country? If so, then, respectfully, what is the primary mission?

      As for NATO/UN ops, tactics are adapted to suit the need of the mission. If attacking targets in heavily defended airspace, any non-stealthy aircraft mentioned can launch stealthy air-launched cruise missiles (Taurus and Stormshadow come to mind), and never have to enter the threat envelope.

      What is the reasoning behind the notion that an open, tendered competition would be a BAD thing?

      • Actually he is saying patroling Canadian Airspace is only a part of the mission for our fighters. Supporting the Army and Navy are another, as well as all NATO/UN missions that may come up. That is why their is an emphasis on a multi-role fighter, like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter which is a direct replacement for the CF-18.

        As for firing cruise missiles at every target to make it safe for a conventional (4th gen) fighter to operate safely, that would be very expensive, at $1.5 million a pop for a Tomahawk only the US has the numbers to do this. In the Libyan no fly zone over 200 US cruise missiles were fired to suppress air defenses. If the US does withdraw from being the world police man like they want to, then other NATO countries will have to pick up the slack.

        • I can't see Canada buying hundreds of cruise missiles to use for the next few decades, look how much opposition there is to the F-35 which is being requested by the DND. Cruise missiles are for attack only, have fun selling that to the bleeding heart left.

          A Coalition of F-35 like aircraft would be able to do the same missions with cheaper GPS guided bombs to take out the SAM threat and switch to a more conventional role later. Or continue to use stealth and operate at will in enemy airspace, not relying on constant one-shot million dollar magic missiles to take out every anti-aircraft site.

        • It's a bit rich to support the billions-over-budget F-35, and then state that cruise missiles are too expensive! And you know as well as I do that we would only be attacking defended sites as part of a much larger coalition force.

          Again, respectfully:
          What is the reasoning behind the notion that an open, tendered competition would be a BAD thing?

          • The F-35's is relative to what is can do and for how long. For example Super Hornets and Gripens are cheaper because they lack survivability today, in 10 years they are sitting targets. You get what you pay for.

            The US is the only one to field cruise missiles in sufficient quantity to be effective, other nations don't have the stockpiles. Looking at the Libyan attacks besides the US only something like 5 cruise missiles from other nations were fired. Don't always count on the US to lead such attacks in the future, other nations will have to finally do their part.

            Open competition isn't bad if there was more than one plane that fit the requirements. The DND has stated the F-35 5th gen is the only one. If they are forced to rewrite the requirements you are setting a dangerous precedent as politicians will decide what equipment the military gets. Then you have issues like the politcally motivated buy of Griffons helicopters which are ill suited for military use.

            DND and the CAF are the subject matter experts, they want the ONLY the F-35, there are very good reasons why the other aircraft don't measure up.

          • In 10 years, advances in AESA and VHF radars, sensor integration and datalink could very well remove any stealth advantage the F-35 may have today. You can update systems, but you can't turn that airframe into an interceptor or dogfighter, which is what would be more useful in achieving their primary mission.

            The arguments against a competition are nonsensical. "It would be pointless to hold a competition when the other competitors aren't even competitive"? Logic dictates that the ONLY way to determine that a competitor is uncompetitive is through… A COMPETITION.

            You state that the F-35 is the only plane to fit the requirements. Could you please provide the requirements, because the DND certainly hasn't. In fact, they have refused to release the SOR, stating that it's classified (even though other aircraft SORs (C-17, Chinook, Herc) related to an actual war zone were unclassified).

            Again, what is the downside, even to a lop-sided competition?

          • Reading a little Aussie Air Power? Ya stealth is gone in ten years, don't tell the Russians/India (PAK-FA), China (J-20), Japan (ATD-X), or Korea (KF-X), or Boeing (Silent Eagle) that. As you just proved all these engineers and designers wrong. 2 guys in Australia figured it all out, too bad their own country won`t listen to them. :(

            I'll repeat;

            Open competition isn't bad if there was more than one plane that fit the requirements. The DND has stated the F-35 5th gen is the only one. If they are forced to rewrite the requirements you are setting a dangerous precedent as politicians will decide what equipment the military gets. Then you have issues like the politically motivated buy of Griffons helicopters which are ill suited for military use.

            According to the PBO as written in the F-35 cost report, the JSF is the ONLY aircraft that fits the requirements as specified by the DND. It satisfied him (Page), the only question is of cost.

          • Considering all Air Forces are moving to field a 5th gen fighter in the future, and many allies (and their respective Armed Forces) specifically want the F-35, DND seems to have their opinion justified. If it is classified there must be something unique about the abilities they want, and probably specific to Tactical fighter operation.

            I think you are missing the big part of only 1 fighter fits the requirements, due to the other competitors being around since the 1980s in some shape or form, there has been ample time to collect data about them. From pilot exchanges, ELINT, DACT, shared info from allies (especially the US), the CF develops a very complete picture of these 4th gen aircraft. From this data they know the others do not currently met the requirements. Hence F-35, many nations agree, now it depends on price.

          • But there is nothing like the focussed comparative research that a true competition provide.

            In a properly tendered open competition, the CAF would compare the competitors against hundreds of technical benchmarks and would provide its recommendations to the Ministry of Defense. While the CAF would pay special attention to the fighters' sensors and avionics, weapons, aerodynamic effectiveness and mission performance, the DND's civilian managers will emphasize technology transfer as well as costs when making their decision. In fact, the winning aircraft for the CAF ought to be chosen on the triangular criteria of technical merit, relative cost, and optimal fit within the SOR.

            A competition would provide a detailed comparison between platforms and technologies based on stated and measurable needs. e.g. What level of LO is anticipated to fulfil the CAF's primary roles? In what frequency band of radar? How does the LO of the F-35 compare to the LO of the small RCS-EW/ECM equipped Gripen NG? How jammable is the F-35's MADL compared to the Gripen NGs TIDLS? You don't get objective answers to these sort of questions by asking around; you have to test for them.

          • Gripen, ha that`s funny.

            Is TIDLS interoperable with what our partner in NORAD will be using in the future (F-22s and F-35s) – NO ok Gripen is out of the competition.

            Gripen, Typhoon, Rafale, – thought up in the 70s, developed through the 80, built in the 90s. Current CF-18, planned and built in the 80`s updated in the 2000s. Any possible tech transfer – nope, this is getting to be a short list quite quickly.

          • TIDLS isn't interoperable? Funny, our NATO partners in Hungary and the Czech Republic don't have that problem with their Gripens. Saab does provide them with Link 16. And the F-22s cannot currently communicate with ANY other aircraft, yet are on NORAD duty.

            As for tech transfer, the Yanks won't even trust us with the source code for F-35 software. No tech transfer there.

            You seem convinced the F-35 is superior, but refuse to consider the only process that would confirm that. Why is that?

          • Of for the love of… you really are daft, Arrow RL206! All you would wind up doing is spending billions to cancel the contracts in place, billions more for the competition and then many more billions to buy the same aircraft all over again.

            I honestly think you Fiberal Party plants are short on brains and common sense.

          • Which contracts would those be, now? The MOU is not a contract, hence no cancellation fees.

            I don't think it will cost us BILLIONS to run a competition, but it just might save us many more billions by prematurely committing to an aircraft that is hugely over-budget, years behind schedule, and so early in it's development that even the few flying today are not expected to achieve Initial Operational Capability until 2018.

            Using terms like "Fiberal Party" makes you seem silly. But I'm not a Liberal. I'm a nationalist.

          • Missing the point a bit, TIDLS is only good for SAAB aircraft only. Link 16 is the standard righ now, CF-18s have it now, the future is MADL as used by the US. Last time I checked we don't do a lot of NORAD duties with Hungary and the Czechs.

            F-22s can recieve Link 16 data from AWACS, with the budgeted upgrades the F-22 will finally be fully capable MADL, like the F-35 will be from the start. Again DND is planning for the future not dwelling in the past .

            The Gripen is not interoperable with our stated missions and biggest military partner, it doesn't have stealth, it is easy to see why DND eliminated it quickly from consideration.

            Source codes weren't part of the MOU for any country, we didn't require the source codes for the Hornet systems, don't need them now either.

            T

          • So, if F-22s can receive Link 16 data from AWACS, that would make TIDLES/Link 16 equipped Gripen NGs interoperable with the F-22s for NORAD duties. Am I right?

            As for TIDLS, I consider it an advantage that Canadian pilots would have access to a highly advanced datalink on it's own secure. Operational sovereignty and all that.

            Certainly, any level of stealth is an advantage, but it is by no means a magic bullet. Two F-117 Very Low Observable (VLO) stealth fighters were hit by the Serbs during the Kosovo campaign, using 1970s Soviet technology.

            Having access to source codes allows you to adapt the avionics to your own determined needs. Again, useful if you value operational sovereignty.

          • Well actually, lets say they do lose stealth, thats not all this plane has to offer. The computer, the Helmet, Wow. The helmet is hooked up with cameras, and the computer, so that you can look right through the plane see whatever you want and the data from tanks, from satillites other planes all come together, and in theory a tank could use your info or reverse, and one or both could hit a target. So a drone could fly over a F35 could circle and hit a target cause it has the right fire power. It takes everything to a new level when the USA's tank inter op capacity is added to the F35.

            I would suggest that these F35's will be a step away from a man-less jet fighter.

        • You mean to say that we should consider buying the expensive F35 to support NATO in bombing relatively defenseless third world nations? Is that what NATO has come to? That is nonsense and we should have no part in it!

          • Did you get the memo, UN approved No-Fly Zone spearheaded by the French no less.
            Relatively defenseless? To who? The US and 200+ cruise missiles, B-2 Stealth Bombers, B-1B bombers and assorted other aircraft, not much of a fight.

            To Nato or some other Coalition without the US, that would be a different story. The US won't be the world police force forever, other countries are going to have to step up. You never know when another Saddam will invade it's rich little neighbour (Desert Storm), is a world of limited resources it is only a matter of time.

          • "relatively defenseless" What have you been smoking, willoway?

            Libya, for example is fielding Russian SA-24's. These SAMs are very advanced and dangerous. Sure, their fighter aircraft are older, but that is far from the whole story I think you really do need to do some homework rather than flapping your socialist fingers in public.

  17. How the Harper regime can dare complain about any of the oppositions spending promises in this election is beyond bizarro world for me?! LOL!, wile in the very same breath they are spending MEGA BILLIONS on a flying credit card to make their American buddies happy?!.

    "Does Canada spend enough on defense?"

    No BUT we should be spending/buying based on Canada's needs NOT the Americans.

    Canada does not need a FIRST-STRIKE WARMONGERS F-35, it needs a long-range interceptor.

    Their are options out their MUCH newer then our CF-18 for BILLIONS LESS.

    • Really, what other jet fighters are available for Canada to purchase? Name them!

      • That would depend on which manufacturers respond to a Request For Tender, based on a published Statement of Operational Reqyuirements. As per established DND procurement policy.

  18. The roof is leaking, the kids are wondering how they are going to make it, granny can't get a place at the home and Daddy just took out a second morgage for a loaded SUV just to impress the neighbours.

    Daddy never was that bright.

    • Daddy just weathered the worst period of recession coming out better than any of his biggest neighbours, he has a lot of stuff other neighbours want, there is more work to be done but the neighbourhood is not as safe as it used to be. Better buy some security/insurance for the next 30 years just in case, the cost? A handful of change a month, not a bad idea.

  19. Give me a break about granny. Harper has lowered taxes for granny, and put money up for low income poverty stricken senior.
    What is Iggy trying to act like Jack and strap a senior to his back to answer every question with a senior cat food story. Give me a break.

    I spend at least 4hrs per week with seniors not family, but to be kind, and who knew a conservative would do that.

    But anyways, I still think we can spend money on many things. And I think its OK to buy a new shirt even if someone is starving in the world.
    I help people as well, but really, those jets are saving lives in Libya right now. Or you could just let Gaddaffi wipe the pavement with bodies, let him rub people into the ground.

    No one wants Jets, wars, tanks. BUT, time and time again, you can't bring a knife to a gun fight. (knifes are so much cheaper.)

    So lets get real, we need an Airforce, but alone we couldn't defend ourselves, So, we need others to help, thats why we are getting on board with several nations, so that in time of need, they can depend on us, and Us, depend on them. Do you really think any of us alone could defend ourselves?

  20. Gee- I remember when we proposed to buy the F-18 fighters, that the projected cost was double the estimate? Its always the same, everybody reacts to what the government proposes, even though we know their "estimates" are always about half the true cost!

  21. If it were not for the surplus Martin gave Harper Canada would be in the same shape as Greece, Ireland and Portugal. He spends like a drunken sailor and constantly takes credit for the cushion Martin gave him. The F-35 procurement will mortgage our grandchildren s' future. Harper does not worry about the future because he is a born again that believes in end times. So in his little mind we will not have to pay anyway.

  22. Now that makes more sense then being Americas lap dog.
    When I buy a car I don't need a sports car, just a platform to carry me from place to place.
    Go back to NORAD c/w missles to do the job. We save our money and start building our own for sale. Something along the lines of the Mosquito, built out of wood and a proven platform. This is NOT a joke.
    There are to many kids on this site with stars in their eyes. I aught to report you for advertizing.

  23. If the US are getting 2500 jets, exactly what would Canada need 65 for?
    Training…? Seems crazy

  24.  Federal Tories say we should lose 19,000 federal jobs x $60,000/year =
    1.14 billion /year that goes to people that buy products that improves
    the economy. Instead we get 65 F35 jets “estimated” at 70 million each
    (latest figure $120-$148 million each) that will cost $1 to 2 billion
    per year for 30 years. Who are we fighting ?? Nobody. Remember the
    Avro Arrow – maybe Canada should spend $1 billion to hire top jet
    scientists and build a Canadian fighter designed for Arctic weather (eg
    block heater at Canadian Tire for $20 v US military version for $20
    million – hee hee ). We could probably buy a large part of
    McDonnell-Douglas on the stock market and move them up to Canada as a
    branch office of Canadian Defense…
    We could then contain advanced
    fighter technology within North America –
    http://www.nytimes.com/1992/01/09/business/mcdonnell-stock-inquiry.html
    for more info …
    http://www.answers.com/topic/mcdonnell-douglas
    http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/04/06/analyst-expects-f-35-jets-to-cost-double-what-ottawa-expects/
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canadavotes2011/story/2011/03/29/cv-f35-costs.html
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2011/03/10/pol-pbo-page-fighterjet.html
    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1975139,00.html

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