Ottawa 'hits reset' on new jet fighters; report warns of soaring costs -

Ottawa ‘hits reset’ on new jet fighters; report warns of soaring costs

KPMG says jets may be too expensive for Defence department


OTTAWA – Canada’s public works minister says the federal government has “hit the reset button” on its controversial efforts to replace Canada’s aging fighter-jet fleet.

Rona Ambrose says the entire process is being reviewed in the face of a long-awaited KPMG report that warns of the soaring cost of the planned purchase of high-tech F-35 stealth fighters.

The report says the lifetime cost of owning the Lockheed Martin-built F-35s is estimated at $45.8 billion over 42 years.

The report says National Defence did not build a big enough financial cushion into the plan and that the $9 billion the department set aside may not be enough to pay for the planned 65 jets.

Ambrose and Defence Minister Peter MacKay are both insisting no decision will be made until the review is complete.

The KPMG report says uncertainties in the oft-delayed program could force the air force to cut the number of planes to 55 — or force the Conservatives to up the purchase amount by between $1.5 billion and $2.5 billion.

The Conservatives have said the $9 billion figure is carved in stone.

But the various cost figures cited in a series of reports released today are based on a number of variables, including the notion that other allied nations will buy as many jets as they’ve promised.

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Ottawa ‘hits reset’ on new jet fighters; report warns of soaring costs

  1. It is disappointing that the discussion about the replacement for the F18s has descended into a debate about costs and the technical merits of the F35 and its contenders.

    The more important discussion that we all should be having is why Canada needs such a capability. Please, please, please tell the Canadian taxpayers what we need this aircraft for! There is no military requirement for them. We should not burden our children and grandchildren by making them pay for this colossal waste!

    Ask yourself to imagine a credible scenario that could arise and be countered by 65 F35s or, for that matter, fighter aircraft of any type. I doubt if you can come up with a realistic scenario.

    The interception of the odd Russian aircraft just outside our territorial borders has been going on since the 70s. The intercepts were done with CF101s and now with CF18s. The Russian aircraft presented no threat then and they present no threat now. An all out attack would be insane and involve ICBMs. No role for fighter type aircraft.

    Further, why would we, in support of NATO, be buying an aircraft capable of attacking third world nations. That makes no sense to me. Do Canadians want to be a part of that organization? I think not!

    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 fighter aircraft. In this case we must simply be ready to pick up the pieces that such an insane action would cause.

    We cannot defend ourselves against an insane all out massive air attack. No matter, that is not going to happen. Those who covet our resources are buying them! No role here for fighter type aircraft.

    Notwithstanding the foregoing, a few token fighter aircraft for use at air shows are always impressive. What a waste!

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

    For our part, the threat is that unaffordable actions by our government will bankrupt our country and compromise our ability to do what is necessary to defend against the real threat. 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. No role for fighter type aircraft.

    In support of our most important ally and neighbour to the south, since we are not a super power, 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”. They always have. To say otherwise is to be kidding ourselves about our own importance.

    In other words, let the Americans do their thing with their 2400+ F35s and let us spend our dollars wisely so they don’t have to worry about their Northern Border. That would be of great assistance to them.

    We need to spend our defence dollars prudently. Our parliamentarians need to come up with a useful, affordable, realistic role for the CAF. Let us not mortgage the future by buying equipment for traditional symbolic reasons!