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Canada reserves the right to back out of F-35

The cost overruns on the F-35 project are legendary and continue to mount. The costs of the F-35 program are spiraling at such a fast rate that many partner nations are considering canceling orders or significantly reducing purchase plans.
 
The latest partner nation considering reducing the order in place for the F-35 is Canada. The Canadian government has admitted that it might not complete the purchase of F-35s. The United States has long said that if partner countries cancel orders or reduce orders, the cost of the jet will spiral for all nations.
 
Canada originally agreed to purchase $9 billion worth of F-35 fighters for the Royal Canadian Air Force. Canada intends to replace its aging CF-18 jets with the F-35.
 
“The… decision has not been made as to whether or not we are actually going to purchase, buy, acquire the F-35,” said Julian Fantino, associate defense minister.
 
“We have not as yet discounted, the possibility of course, of backing out of any of the program. None of the partners have. We are not,” he told the Commons Defence Committee Tuesday.


A group of Lockheed F-35B Lightning II fighters [Source: Lockheed Martin]
 
Fantino's comments are marked contrast to other comments offered by Canadian officials in the past who were staunch advocates of the F-35. In the past, Canadian government officials have gone so far as to accuse people who didn't support the F-35 of not supporting the armed forces.
 
The first indication of trouble in Canada came last month when Defense Minister Peter MacKay refused to confirm how many F-35's Canada would buy.
 
However, a spokesman for the Canadian Defense Ministry press McClusky told the Star-Telegram in an email, "Our position has not changed. We remain committed to the Joint Strike Fighter Program. A budget has been allocated. A contract has not been signed. We will make sure that the Air Force has aircraft necessary to do the job we ask of them."
 
The Pentagon has considered reducing the production rate of the F-35 to an even slower rate to allow more time to fix issues discovered in flight testing.

Sources: Star-Telegram, The Star





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