Stephen Saideman surveys the F-35 situation.
The Auditor-General’s report has led to a debate about the numbers – what counts as a cost? – but this has been a distraction from a more fundamental issue: We still don’t know what the costs of construction of each plane will be. The savings produced by economies of scale have not materialized. Instead, the plane’s projected costs have steadily increased. While the Canadian government was still estimating $75-million per plane, other countries were realizing that the semi-bargain was disappearing. They started rethinking their plans. Italy, the Netherlands and Japan have cut their planned orders. This reverses the economies of scale, making each plane more expensive.