Why can’t we have some of those hip new fighter jets?

All the cool countries are doing it.

But all the cool countries are doing it!

Reuters/Getty Images/Lockheed Martin/Photo Illustration by Taylor Shute

Are you like me? Are you woefully uninformed about this F-35 business that’s been in the news? The topic came up at a dinner party in Ottawa, and I was so ashamed by my lack of knowledge that I snuck away to hide in a washroom. In Winnipeg.

Let’s figure this thing out together.

What exactly is an F-35?

It’s a new fighter jet being manufactured by Lockheed Martin. Its full name is the Joint Strike Fighter F-35 Lightning II. We probably shouldn’t be at all concerned that this sounds like something a little boy would name his tricycle.

What’s this got to do with Canada?

All the cool countries are getting F-35s, so we’re buying some too. In fact, our Department of National Defence wanted this hip new toy so badly that it structured the procurement process to ensure no other jet could win. In 2010, the Conservative government dutifully announced plans to purchase 65 F-35 fighters, at a cost of $9 billion. On one hand, that sounds like a lot of money, but on the other hand, why do you hate our troops, first hand?

Why do we need these planes?

I’m not saying our current fleet of CF-18s is old, but mechanics are getting a little tired of opening the engine hood and listening to the prehistoric birds make wisecracks. “Squawk! It’s a living!”

I don’t get that reference.

The Flintstones. Apparently I’m even older than our CF-18s.

Doesn’t $9 billion seem like a reasonable price for basically a whole new air force?

Did the government say $9 billion? It meant $15 billion, by which it actually meant $25 billion.

Wait—why have the numbers changed?

That meddling Auditor General of ours happened to notice that National Defence low-balled the total cost of the F-35 program by the teeny-tiny amount of ten thousand million dollars.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay said this was “a matter of accounting.” What he meant was that he and his cabinet colleagues were “a-counting” on Canadians not catching on to the fact they were concealing some $10,000,000,000 in costs.

That’s a lot of zeroes.

I’ll thank you not to refer to members of the federal cabinet that way.

So the actual cost of the jets is going to be almost three times the original $9-billion figure? I’m confused.

Lucky for you, Stephen Harper set aside time this week to provide clarity. “There’s more than one number, there’s more than one cost depending upon what you are counting,” the Prime Minister said. “The numbers you talk about are different numbers costing different things.” Got that? $9 billion . . . $25 billion . . . THESE ARE JUST NUMBERS THAT ARE DIFFERENT FROM OTHER DIFFERENT NUMBERS.

But why does the price of the F-35 continue to rise?

First of all, it’s not cheap to take the cockpit of a state-of-the-art fighter jet and make sure there’s enough room in there to give Peter MacKay a lift home. Second, it appears the Conservatives committed Canada to buying the F-35s before certain details were finalized—such as how much the aircraft would actually cost. Months after the announcement, bureaucrats reported they were still “advancing our understanding of the costs” of the planes. This makes sense, because in daily life we all hand over our credit cards and say to shop clerks: “I’ll be back for it Tuesday.”

These F-35s are supposed to be in service for decades. But aren’t manned aircraft going to become obsolete in the age of drones?




Is the government doing anything to address the auditor general’s criticism?

The Conservatives have set up a new secretariat to relaunch the purchase of fighters. They say it’s important that control of the process be given to new bureaucrats with new perspectives.

So we could wind up with a different jet altogether?

Sure. Except that the name of the new organization is the “F-35 Secretariat.”


Why can’t we have some of those hip new fighter jets?

  1. Sure. Except that the name of the new organization is the “F-35 Secretariat.” *

    * “F-35 Northern Dancer” was alredy in use by the Secret Service- Condi’s nickname for the then Foreign Affairs Minister.

  2. I was hoping for some amusing perspective.

    Instead, all I got was straight facts, no spin.

    Sure, the post was hilarious, but in that crying-while-pulling-your-hair-out kind of way.

  3. Of Course,
    9 billion=15 billion=25 billion= 50 billion, which is more likely to be the true cost over 36 years.

  4. Nice irony, no new facts, no background, very little humor, no opinion. Strange. For a news magazine, this almost reads like a politician’s speech…

  5. Totally uneeded, a waste of money big time

  6. For 25 billion,I could build us 65 fighters.We could call them “ARROWS”. That’s got a nice ring to it,but it might PO the PC’s. AGAIN!

  7. Originally, it seemed like a prudent and well-intended defence acquisition plan and replacement for the CF-18.  One has to remember that the jet was being proposed and advertised as a reliable F-16-priced affordable jet with convincing next-gen systems and an efficient logistical support.  It was supposed to be mature and initially operational by 2016 for partners — just in time to replace CF-18 hornets when they were ready for a timely retirement.

    Yet today, reality has hit hard and it’s a whole new paradigm.  What was originally expected and estimated however is nowhere in sight of what is what.  It was a good college try and was truly a well-intended little scheme.  Although the time for denial and more delay is not an acceptable solution now.  CF-18 needs to either receive substantial extra funding (from RCAF’s aviation procurement budget) to have added service life extended and a more credible systems and weapons upgrade… or, the CF-18 needs to be replaced in a timely fashion by a cost-effective alternative either outright or by acquiring stopgap assets as needed.

    • Originally, it seemed like a prudent and well-intended defence acquisition plan and replacement for the CF-18. 

      This is all a fair point, if we all understand “originally” to mean “back when the Liberals were still in government”.  The F-35 program started going off the rails an awfully long time ago.

  8. Well that pretty clear. Gross incompetence AGAIN….or rather still.
    Unfortunately, most Canadians are so caught up with the next hockey game that none of this boring F-35 stuff occupies their minds. Joy riding ego maniacs “earning” a big fat salaries and OUTRAGEOUSLY generous pensions need to cut somewhere….why not seniors and silly servants. 

    What is happening to my country? Is anyone out there?

  9. Oh ya…the F-35 is a single engine fighter. Isn’t the CF-18, CF-101 ( substitute for the scrapped Arrow), and the CF-100 ( Cdn Designed and built) twin engine fighters? I thought that twin engines was an essential requirement since we wanted to give our pilots a good chance of getting home. I guess essential is optional.

    • It would if the probability of a single engine flameout in the F-35 wasn’t lower than a double engine flame out in an CF-18… Add the expected reduced maintenance between the two and  you have a reasonable argument against a two-engined fighter.

      • How can there be an expectation of reduced maintenance when they haven’t even finished the blasted thing yet, let alone had a chance to try maintaining it?  Expectation based on what, Lockheed Martin fairy dust?

    •  The Spitfire, which defended Britain against the Luftwaffe, was a single-engine fighter.

      The F16 is a very successful single-engine fighter.

      In fact, two-engines may be LESS safe, as that is twice as much maintenance – twice as many problems.

      • In that case, I think we should have a ZERO-engine fighter. Never a breakdown again!

  10. Scott — you made the point that there are really big money numbers involved here — but more importantly there are really really big egos —- the kind that’ll never ever say “I made a mistake”

  11. 65 is not enough – Canada shouldn’t be the only major
    country in the world without fighter jets just because they’ll cost some money
    – even if it did cost 30 billion over 25 years, that isn’t even enough
    money to keep the health care system alive in Ontario for one year! 
    Canada has much to protect and certainly can’t protect itself with moralistic
    sanctimonious alarmist wind storms over the appropriateness of acquiring (gasp)
    basic proper means (and the bare-bones at that) to protect what is the absolute best place on earth to live.  Face it, many (not all) of those that are against the F-35 are against everything else related to the military, defense, weapons etc. – it is a mindset – a thinking style – and no amount of entreaty can sway that – it is a ‘weapon’ and as such is by default ‘absolutely’ unjustified under all circumstances.

    • That man is made of some of the flimsiest straw I’ve ever seen.
      The problem isn’t that the Canadian military wants to buy fighter jets.  The first problem is that the Canadian military wants to buy the most expensive fighter jets in the world despite the fact that what we know about how they’re supposed to end up suggests they’re gonna be lousy at the missions Canadians need them for.  That is, they have low range, are not very good fighters, have small payloads for bombing, have generally sacrificed a mass of capability for stealth.  But that stealth is irrelevant to most Canadian missions (e.g. flying the borders to enforce Canadian sovereignty–yeah, we really want to hide while we’re doing that.  Or, bombing third world countries for NATO; when was the last time someone in Libya or Afghanistan brought down a bomber?) and is rapidly becoming obsolete against more serious opponents, who are deploying an older radar technology that has no difficulty seeing stealthed aircraft.  We could get better fighters with longer range for a third the price, it just wouldn’t be the latest goodie with useless stealth technology.
      The second problem is that the Conservative government keep lying to us.  Flat out lying.  Not half truths, not avoidance, not artful spin.  Lying to the Canadian public and parliament about basic issues of government.  At this rate, how can we trust a single line in the budget?  These people have no scruples and no sense of having a responsibility to govern Canada for Canadians.

  12. If Canada intends to let its entire air force become obsolete like Poland did on the eve of World War II, then the old CF-18 will do just fine. It isn’t like we in Canada can’t rely on the U.S. with its state-of-the art drones to protect us, right?

    However, it Canada is going to participate in more military operations like the one over Libya, then we will need something less obsolete than the CF-18, like the F-35.

    But a word of caution: if the F-35 ends up costing us hundreds of billions of dollars, we risk having our fiscal picture look about as bleak as the States’, or even Greece’s. 

    An excess in defence spending is a great way to propel this country along the road to fiscal irresponsibility.  

    • Its not a matter of obsolescence at least not yet… Given that the CF-18 (the modernized ones at least) employs the same weapon systems as the F-35 it isn’t an obsolete platform at all.  Even the only qualitative difference that really matters is the sensor suite which doesn’t actually matter much if they are being employed in a NATO type operation with a common air picture provided via link-16.  The real problem is the age of the air frames themselves.  Eventually there won’t be any airworthy CF-18s left to fly.  There is a CF-18 on display in the 

      Canada Aviation and Space Museum for just this reason…

  13. And CANCEL all the Military Warfare Spending, CANADA does
    NOT want to be like the United States, Mr. Harper.

    • A defence budget is more important than a healthcare budget.  The nicest people are the blindest sheep.

    • Wow people like you should really hide in your closet and not allowed out.

      Beware that bashing the US is not a bright thing to do as it is them, the US, that will have to protect us should something happen in Canada.  Its because of people like you that we’ll be sitting ducks.  Remember its only a matter of time before something happens and I want to our men and women to be extremely well equipped so that I can be very well protected by Canada and by the US if needed.  Remember the Mississauga 18.  Had their plans worked, you might still be hiding in your closet.

      BTW, if you can’t support our troops to protect your sorry arse, then feel free to stand in front of them.

  14. UAC Squadrons Destroy F35 Squadron
    The global community was scammed into building 28,000 nuclear war heads during the cold war. Now we are paying to dismantle that fantasy.  If politicians are not assessing the threat that 20 inexpensive drones launched against each F35 they are scamming us into purchasing the latest con. Remember US politicians were the same intelligent gang that permitted and subsidized GM to build fleets of Hummer. Pea sized brains equal pea sized results. They failed and it was human health, energy, economic and environmental stewardship that they failed at.
    If the US and Cdn Dept of Defense has not assess the threat posed by unmanned aircraft which they call UAV in an attempt to delude us that they are not UAC, someone it misleading the citizens who will have to fly these aircraft (A/C) and the citizens who will have to pay for them. Politicians have not done an transparent and accountable job of managing national security and the nations financial accounts.
    Lets hope they are have stopped using the Sub prime book on economic management and threats of the Twentieth Century , the last war as leader have often done.

  15. Following my review of the comments already offered, I can offer the following:

    1.  my understanding is that the F-35 is the only fighter available for sale with stealth capability (apparently, the US will not offer the F – 22 stealth fighter for sale even to NATO allies).  If you are an RCAF fighter pilot, would you rather have a stealth fighter or a fighter without stealth capability? The biggest risk for both the RAF and the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain was not the loss of aircraft, it was the loss of trained and experienced pilots.  Stealth capability materially improves the survival prospects of our pilots, who are not just brave, but endowed with rare physical, mental, technical and athletic skills; and who take a long time to train.  This is particulary important issue for a country with a relatively small population;

    2.  those who suggest that it was an error not to conduct a tender process for other aircraft that don’t have stealth capability would have you believe that there is nothing wrong in misrepresenting the government’s true purchasing intentions for the sake of form and procedure.  These bid processes are expensive and time consuming for the companies involved, and it would be dishonourable to suggest to the two or three other potential suppliers that they should absorb bid costs without a realistic prospect of success; 

    3.  the “cool kids” include the US (of course), the UK, Australia and Israel.  Coincidentally, these are the only countries that can be relied upon to commit military resources to deal with external threats to Western civilization.  I think we are in good company;

    4.  while it is true that we don’t yet have final costs, it is important to remember that the real issue is not the total life cycle costs (apparently for 50 years, as compared to 40 years for the CF – 18s), but the difference between the final F – 35 costs and the costs of the two or three realistic non-stealth options; and

    5.  my understanding is that predator drones require targetting information to be supplied in “real time” by personnel on the ground in close proximity to the target, and that while the drones have impressive range, the range of the proposed fighter jets is orders of magnitude greater.

    The real reasons for the current debate are:

    6. in all the countries that operate in the Westminister parliamentary system, the opposition parties have a duty to vigourously oppose the government’s proposals (correspondingly, the government’s duty is to vigourously advocate for its proposals  –  a distinction that the opposition, the CBC and the Press Gallery cadre conveniently ignore);

    7.  some of the opposition comes from people who object to any military spending, believing that Canadian sovereignty and territorial integrity are matters of international law rather than a question of will, determination and muscular capability.  Such people seem unwilling and/or incapable of understanding that:

    a) bullies and scoundrels don’t care about international law; and

    b)  the first duty of government in the Westminister parliamentary system is to protect the population from internal and external threats to life and property (social programs and social issues are of considerably less importance, especially if you have been conquered or killed);

    8.  this procurement is being managed by a Conservative government, to which the people of Canada had the temerity to grant a majority, in preference to the corrupt Liberal Party and the unserious and unqualified NDP.  Canadians who voted Conservative don’t seem to understand that the CBC, the Press Gallery and the left wing parties are not to be inconvenienced in this manner, and that after all, these agencies know best; and

    9.  if only the Liberals were in charge, there would be no fuss at all, especially, as was pointed out in a previous comment, it was the Liberals who originally enrolled Canada in the Joint Strike Fighter development program.  In addition, the CBC, the Press Gallery and their respective apologists, acolytes and fellow travellers would be so much happier. 

    As the late Jack Layton was purported to have written on his death bed, Canada must restore its now diminished international reputation, which is entirely attributable to Prime Minister Harper’s determination that Canada behave in an adult manner instead of being known for tiresome and predictable posturing, empty rhetoric, fence sitting, political correctness and petulant pirouettes.

    Liam Rafferty

    • Well said.

    • 1. The decision to buy these planes and to misrepresent their true costs was not made by pilots. It was made by high army brass and top level bureaucrats with business connections to Lockheed Martin, the American makers of these planes. This is about government largesse in the Department of Defense.

      2. Clearly, the Conservatives and the military bureaucracy is more conserned about the expenses of their buddies at Lockheed-Martin and defense contractors than the Canadian taxpayer. I’d say they have their priorities all wrong!

      3. The “cool kids” happen to be the countries that have got caught in demoralizing, unneccessary, and expensive military occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now they are talking about launching the same type of offensives on Iran. These are the last countries we should be following. It’s time Canada showed some backbone and pursue and independent foreign policy instead of following the U.S. and Britain into wars like Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Iran. Frankly, we don’t have the money for more of these military failures. 

      4. The only way you find out comparative costs is through a tendering process. Before I buy something, I want to know the costs, and I certainly don’t want my government lying to me about it. It’s fiscally irresponsible for the COnservatives to be signing blank  checks.

      5. Enough with the double talk. Give me the bottom line. How much will the drones cost and how much will the F-35’s cost.  Better yet, how about keeping that money at home instead of keeping American aircraft workers employed. Lets build our own aircraft. The Swedes do it with a far smaller population. Canadians should show some pride for a change and build their own aircraft to patrol Canadian skies, not buy American planes to bomb Iran. 

      6. The real reason for the debate is that the Conservatives have lied to Canadians about how much these cost and have played political favorites in awarding government contracts. That’s according to the Auditor General and Parliamentary Budget Commissioner, both Conservative appointees. It’s the duty of not only the Parliamentary opposition, but also the press to hold the government accountable when they act badly.

      7. Most Canadians simply want to know why we need assault aircradft designed to bomb other countries while our arctic sovereignty is in question. We need aircraft and boats to guard the arctic, not billion dollar aircraft to help Israel and the U.S. to bomb Iran. 

      Conservatives can certainly use their majority to ram through this 25 billion and counting to these jets, but they  will be held accountable by voters in the next election. I welcome an honest and open debate on whether that 25 billion (maybe it will be 50 billion by then) is better spent on fighter jets for bombing Iran or medicare. It would offer a clear choice for once.

    • Let me reply to this by saying that I do agree with you on some points. Canada does need to replace its existing fighters. The F-35 however is not the aircraft for the job. In fact no single aircraft can do the job and suceed.
      The F-35 fails as an air supremacy aircraft because it is too slow, isn’t very manouverable, doesn’t carry enough weapons, can’t take much damage and its so called stealth is rapidly being rendered obsolite by advances in radar and infra red detection. Without the F-22 to back it up it is no match for most 4++ generation aircraft such as the Sukhoi Su-35.

      Solution to air superiority, as we can’t have Sukhois or F-22s is to get Eurofighter Typhoons or latest addition F-15s for this roll.

      The dassault Rafale would be a far better choice for the roll of bombing such as it displayed in Libya.

      For troop support the F-35 cannot fly low or slow enough to do that job. And it cannot withstand small arms fire. For this we should purchase some A-10 Warthogs and modernize them.

      And finally, for patrol work, the F-35 doesn’t have the range to cover our vast territory. a couple of RQ-4 Global Hawks would be perfect for this role.

      I know. Many aircraft = more maintenace costs, but those can be covered by the money saved from not purchasing this over-priced under-achiever.

      Too bad we can’t buy the Sukhois though. Far superior aircraft at a far better price. 

    • Thank you for writing this comment.  I’ve learned more from yours than from the story I clicked on.

      • Learn from opinion ? You being new and everything we’ll let that go, just glad you’re not the one writing the cheques :) smiley 

  16. just another liberal /ndp lefty whining sound comming from ”scott whomever” Almost as loud as a jet engine. The lib’s started this process and i think it was one of the few good things they did that did not embarrass me as a canadian. If the lib’s were in leadership now there would be very little fuss about a purchase that costs us about as much as the cbc does. are the days of serious well researched balanced articles about our nations business a thing of the past.  best regards dt.

  17. Couldn’t we just pay our American friends for the cost of the aircraft for which they will let us continue to have (nearly) free trade and access to world markets. Then, we refuse to accept delivery and gift them to the American military who will go broke flying them. Everybody is happy, and unfettered (nearly) capatlism wins again. Now then, onto health care and how the Americans can help us see the errors of our ways and education, (why can’t we have the excellent public school education that has made America the envy of people who are Republicans. 



    “Even without
    new problems, the F-35 is a ‘dog.’ If one accepts every performance promise the
    DoD currently makes for the aircraft, the F-35 will be: “Overweight and
    underpowered: at 49,500 lb (22,450kg) air-to-air take-off weight with an engine
    rated at 42,000 lb of thrust, it will be a significant step backward in
    thrust-to-weight ratio for a new fighter…. [F-35A and F-35B variants] will have
    a ‘wing-loading’ of 108 lb per square foot…. less manoeuvrable than the
    appallinglyvulnerable F-105 ‘Lead Sled’ that got wiped out over North
    Vietnam…. payload of only two 2,000 lb bombs in its bomb bay…. With more bombs
    carried under its wings, the F-35 instantly becomes ‘non-stealthy’

  19. The strongest
    competitor would be Boeing, with its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet family. Its F-15E
    Strike Eagle family is arguably a far better fit for Canada’s military needs,
    but the Super Hornet is significantly cheaper at about USD$ 60 million flyaway
    cost, and offers perceived continuity with the existing CF-18 fleet. A Super
    Hornet buy also offers long-term commonality with the US Navy, ensuring that
    upgrades and improvements will be financed outside of Canada. Australia now
    flies the Super Hornet, and a 3rd option would be for Canada to take a leaf
    from their playbook, buying a mix of Super Hornets plus a smaller number of
    F-35As. Australia is about to take the next step in their approach, and fit out
    12 of its Super Hornets as EA-18G electronic attack aircraft. That capability
    is unique to the Super Hornet platform, available to Canada, and will always be
    in demand among international coalition partners.


  20. Interception from 4
    Wing Cold Lake, Alta., or 3 Wing Bagotville, Que., requires long flights and
    often staging out of three of our northern FOLs: Inuvik, N.W.T.; Iqaluit,
    Nunavut; and Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. Each of them has what are considered short
    runways for the safe operation of fighter aircraft, particularly those fighters
    returning from a mission and carrying weapons. And, with significant distances
    between the FOLs, this necessitates landing with appropriate fuel reserves. To
    solve the inherent safety issue, the Air Force employs a mobile arrestor gear
    system to stop the CF-18 in case of an aborted takeoff or if runway traction
    conditions could result in a landing roll longer than the runway. The F-35 has
    an arrester hook, too, but it is designed for emergencies only and therefore is
    not robust enough to handle regular operations, like that of the CF-18 (which
    is essentially an aircraft that was designed for aircraft carrier operations
    with the U.S. Navy).


  21. The F35 is nothing more than an F18 with  new paint job. Without the new high tech helmet system that is being redesigned from scratch it is not a good dollar for value system. The F22 is the best fighter in the world but the Americans do not trust anyone with the technology, so much for alliances. The F35 is not stealthy, cannot outperform several other aircraft already in service and doesn’t have a universal weapons system as of today. The wearpons load is limited similar to the F18s 10 second cannon duration to spent shell capacities. Strange that emerging countries such as China and India both have developed 5TH Generation fighters when only a few years ago the rickshaw was their highest technilogical claim to fame. There are 5 or 6 other 5th generation fighters already in service at half the cost from Germany/England, France, Sweden, Japan, India, China, Russia and Slovakia. We should try to swing a deal with Boeing on their competing F35 Fighter that was rejected by the US experts..


  22. I’m disappionted in this article.  I was actually hoping that at least with MacLeans, I’d get a true report on what it is, why we need them and exactly what was going on, in layman’s terms.

    This attempt at being funny and government bashing is not what I expected.  I can get that in most media.

    BTW, from many other reports that I’ve read, it was mentioned that the jets were not purchased and not one penny was spent.  They were in discussion about them and to find out exactly how much it would cost.  Same as what most people would do when wanting to buy a car, shop around for the best price for the best product.  Nothing anywhere was mentioned that they had been purchased and it was a done deal.  The price quoted was maybe for basic fighter jets and maybe different options were asked to be incorporated which of course would make the price go up, same as buying any car.

    • As long as they include snow tires and oil changes I think we should get them. And if you really think about it, who needs a cd player at Mach 3 ?

  23. Manned fighters will be replaced by drones? Glad to know you can tell the future. how did that work out back in 1957 when they thought the same thing???
    25 Billion accounts for the cost of operating the jets for the next 20 years, which cost the same to operate as the old CF18s.
    When you buy a car with a sticker price of 35K, do you factor in all the maintenance and fuel costs for the next ten years??? So your 35K car actually costs 70K????? OMG. The F35 is actually the cheapest fighter option out there, so if we go with anything else is will cost even more!
    If Canadians want to be a sovereign nation, then we are going to actually spend a little bit of money on our military, we still spend the lowest % of GDP among NATO, that is very sad. we expect other nations to protect us, or get the americans to protect us. well if thats the case then we may as well be american, not many of you would like that would you? Think of defence like insurance, you hope you never need to use it, but when you do need it, you better have it. In todays day in age, it takes too long to build up a military like we did in WW2, what you have when the war starts is all you have. and don’t think that because we are canada and everyone loves us that nobody is going to do harm to us. we have a lot of natural resources and if we have a good capable military, then if anything its a deterrent. If we don’t, and the times comes when we need one, don’t go crying to anyone because we have done this to ourselves. 
    Another point, its not like the government is handing the military a check for 25 billion, that money comes out of the military budget, they budget that in over the next 20 years. 
    the media and opposition is doing a great job of making this a really big deal, because that sells, and everyone in this world only cares about making money and getting into power. Sad.

  24. A nice change of pace for an article, the topic clearly taken as seriously as the government decision.

    As a Canadian I was ashamed that Canada took part in recent American imperialism thinly disguised as ‘NATO operations’.  I am sure we will soon hear that CF 18s were saving American lives oops I mean Canadian lives and that the F 35s will save even more umm lives.

    Protecting our borders? The last country to invade Canada is the country Canada is buying the fighters from.

    If this was a legitimate need and a legitimate purchase, there would have been some form of legitimate investigation and estimated cost. The fact is this is just some ‘conservative patronage’ to their American capitalist icons.

  25. Alternative aircraft work for the majority of NATO allies in fact most
    of the NATO countries thinking of buying F-35 also buy European aircraft
    that are better suited for air defense rather than bombing Iran.

    F-35 is neither true 5th gen or very stealthy.  It was designed to be cheap (It’s only expensive because they screwed up. Now in its 3rd reconstruction effort.) and lost many 4.5-5th gen capabilities such as supersonic flight without afterburner (for longer range and lower heat signatures).

    It’s missing the long range A2A heat seeking sensor found in foreign aircraft. It has to use radar and this emits signals other jets can pick up passively. As well as picking up the JSF on heat sensor.

    The promised (but so far failed) 360 degree out of cockpit visuals is not a JSF-unique feature. Also, the internal weapons bays are small and to carry even half as many missiles like Russian or Chinese jets they would have to be also carried externally. Again producing higher signatures.

    The F-35 radar can’t rotate its disc so its limited to a 60 degree scan (30 degree off its nose) while foreign aircraft can scan in excess of 100 degrees enabling them to both scan sideways and turn away from a target when firing a missile. There’s no double-seat version either a valuable asset in tactics today.

  26. Another awesome article, Feschuk.
    I am a long-time fan and just love how you are growing into your own style and saying what needs to be said with epic-colbert-ballsyness.

    Everyone that is complaining about this article lacking ‘content’,is because its not actually a real interview or a serious news article, its political satire written by Scott Feschuk and it is on par with that of the Colbert’s or the Tosh’s.

    Try harder folks, its pretty obvious hes not trying to give you all the facts or a unbiased point of view, its meant to laugh about something that would otherwise make us cry, and thats why we love it I suppose.

    Keep writing in the free internet, Scott.

    Your homie,

    Patrick Clarke