The U.S. Government may cancel plans to purchase F-35 jets if a bipartisan congressional committee can’t agree on a deficit reduction plan by next week. In letters to congressional leaders, U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta warns of severe defence cuts ahead if the super committee fails. “Decisions related to major programs could include: Terminate Joint Strike Fighter; minimal life extensions and upgrades to existing forces,” the letter says, according to the Globe and Mail. For now the threat remains remote. Even if the committee avoids a decision on cuts, Congress could vote to spare Defence or simply cancel their earlier across-the-board cuts entirely. On the off chance the F-35 is scrapped, it could be bad news for Canada, which plans to purchase 65 of the jets between 2016 and 2022. Without the massive U.S. order, the average price-per-plane could soar out of Canada’s range.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011