F-35 jets could get even pricier as other buyers reconsider


The federal government’s controversial purchase of 65 F-35 fighter jets took yet another hit this week when the Pentagon confirmed it had to postpone orders for 179 of the planes to save $15.1 billion and allow more time for testing. On Tuesday, Italy announced it was downsizing its order and the U.K. said it will wait until 2015 to decide on its purchase. The announcements will likely drive the price of the jets further up from the current $9-billion bill Ottawa faces. Under attack from the opposition, who says the government is considering delaying old-age security benefits while remaining stubbornly attached to the ever pricier fighter jets, the Conservative government announced it will be holding talks with the other jet buyers in the Canadian embassy in Washington, DC in March, something opposition MPs portrayed as a panicked move. While Defence Minister Peter Mackay admitted on Tuesday that the the F-35 program has been problematic in terms of timelines and costs, the National Post’s John Ivison says the government has found a potential solution to the problem: replacing the fighter jets with unmanned drones. According to unnamed sources, the Department of National Defence is preparing to tender a contract for drones similar to the ones the U.S. has been using in Afghanistan.

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F-35 jets could get even pricier as other buyers reconsider

  1. And if unmanned drones can patrol our arctic airspace, I’m all for it.

    After all, if the reason we need all this stealth technology is to protect our pilots and not just to look cool, what could be more protective than them simply not being there in the first place?

    • It will be a number of years before ‘multi-mission’ Tactical-equivalent drones with both good autonomy and dash speed take to the skies.  Everything is on the drawing board at this point.  

      Could certain existing prop driven or even new jet powered ground surveying UAVs/UCAV, which are not cheap btw – especially the jet powered drones – be considered as part of a mix for Canada’s CF-18 tactical replacement strategy, though?  Sure, if it’s determined to be effective and part of a useful capability.

      But let there be no shock or surprise today in the news that F-35 will somehow now become more expensive than originally advertised.  That view (eg shock) is unfortunately either incredibly naive, or flat out deceitful with an interest of staying the course on F-35’s acquisition at any cost.  For critics of the programme since day one have been warning governments and informing the general public alike that the originally conceived fighter plan was inherently flawed and not able to deliver anywhere close to the expected schedules and prices, as advertised.

  2. Can’t we just put some sort of robot or computer program in the fighter jets to have them become unmanned drones? They’ve done it with cars. Granted, a fighter jet is more difficult to drive than a car but I don’t see why the technology would be so different.

  3. We don’t need the fighter jets, we don’t need the dilapidated submarines we already have, we don’t need the war ships.  All we need are some good icebreakers and half decent search and rescue squadron on both coasts.  The war hawks in our military, a lot like their American equivalent, are simply trying to rescue their jobs.  They still haven’t realized their obsolescence, and they never will.  If we took half the money being spent and rescued our educational system and the other half to help build up the downtrodden in our society, we would become the envy of the world.  The Americans are trying to save their industrial-military complex from economic collapse, and are using Canada and the other NATO countries for that purpose.

  4. There is no classic military threat to Canada. There is a threat to our freedom that is much more insidious. It cannot be dealt with by using exotic fighter type aircraft or submarines. We cannot afford to equip our armed forces to be prepared to fight off some imaginary enemy. Hell, with 65 F35s we could not defend Vancouver Island against a 1960s envisaged all out attack. That does not matter because that is not going to happen. Taken to the sublime, perhaps we should have a fleet of Starship Enterprises to protect us against aliens from outer space.

    The real threat to our sovereignty is an economic threat. The Russians and Chinese want and need our resources. It is not in their interest to bomb us. Rather, they are buying our country.

    To defend our “sovereignty” we need to counter the economic threat to our Arctic, protect our coastal fisheries, deal with internal unrest, root out terrorist cells, and, most importantly, keep our country financially viable.

  5. Whether or not Canada needs these jets is not relevant. Whether or not Canada can afford these jets is not relevant…just ask Mr Harper.

  6. This issue of the F-35 is rediculous. They are much to expensive, and even more are not needed. They are first strike weapon which Canada has no need for. Perhaps we should let the conservatives pay for them instead out of their money, not Canada’s. 

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