OTTAWA – The new commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force insists the oft-maligned F-35 stealth fighter is the best choice to replace the country’s aging CF-18s.
But Lt.-Gen. Yvan Blondin says he’ll salute and accept whatever decision the Harper government makes in the coming months.
Almost everyone in the government, from the prime minister on down, insists that the new secretariat overseeing the replacement of the older fighter bombers will look at all options as it analyzes the troubled F-35 program.
The aircraft is not expected to exit its development phase until 2019, which is about the time the CF-18s will reach the end of their service life.
But Blondin says service life is not a finite line and he believes the air force can keep the old jets flying until at least 2025, perhaps beyond.
Blondin, who formally took command of the air force today, spent part of his career flying CF-18s.