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F-35 taking off  (Source: Defense News)
Canada promises more due diligence on F-35 purchase

As the costs for the F-35 Lightning II program continue to grow, partner nations seem to be increasingly reconsidering their purchase of the aircraft. More than a few countries have said they would consider cutting back on the number of aircraft they purchase if the price continues to grow. Recently the lifetime cost of the F-35 program in the US was pegged at $1.45 trillion.
 
Some maintain that the costs of the fighter aren't growing as quickly as the numbers would lead people to believe because the U.S. government continues to change how they determine costs. Canada's auditor general accused the Canadian Defense Department of misleading lawmakers on the F-35 program costs this week.
 
Canadian auditor general Michael Ferguson asserts that military officials are so deeply committed to purchasing the F-35 that they did not "exercise due diligence" on the most expensive military procurement program in Canadian history.
 
“The department did not provide parliamentarians with complete cost information or fully inform decision makers about risks created by problems encountered in the (F-35) program,” he said.
 
“Only the most optimistic (cost) scenario was put forward,” and “key approvals (were) obtained after decisions were made.”
 
Canada still maintains that it intends to buy the 65 F-35 fighters, even though reports surfaced last month the Canada might cut back on orders. Canada intends to replace its fleet of CF-18 Hornets with the F-35. 
 
Canadian officials originally pegged the cost of the F-35 at $9 billion plus $7 billion for maintenance. Ferguson claims the true cost estimate is more in closer to $25 billion.
 
Ferguson also claims, “The department did not acknowledge that the decision to purchase the F-35 was well underway four years before it was officially announced.”
 
Ferguson isn't alone in his harsh criticism of the F-35 program in Canada; Democrat MP Christine Moore also criticizes the program. She said, "The government knew the F-35s were going to cost more than anticipated, but they intentionally hid it from parliament and the public." 
 
“This was an outrageous attempt to try and pull the wool over the eyes of Canadians.”
 
The Canadian government has pledged to freeze allocation for the fighter jet at the original $9 billion and turn the procurement process over to the Public Works ministry.

Source: Defense News



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By ltcommanderdata on 4/4/2012 2:30:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The F-35 has better capabilities in stealth, tracking, targeting, maneuverability, etc. which all contribute to it being a more efficient and updated solution to protecting Canada's borders.

If the primary function of Canada's fighter jets is to be border security, are stealth capabilities really critical? I would think that the effective capability to detect enemy aircraft will be the most important and that can be most effectively accomplished with dedicated AWACs aircraft or other dedicated detection mechanisms. The AWACs can then direct Super Hornets to intercept threats while the Super Hornets operate passively and perhaps fly nap of the earth to avoid detection. While not stealth aircraft, I believe Super Hornets do have reduced radar profiles on their front aspects compared to contemporary 4th gen aircraft and the proposed Block III spec would further improve this. With early detection, an AWACs can vector Super Hornets to maximize use of the radar reduced front. For Canadian sovereignty missions, I'm not sure the Super Hornet gives up much against the F-35 especially if twin engines, reinforced landing gear, and arrestor hook (features that made the F/A-18 stand out against the F-16 for Canada to select the original CF-18) allow the Super Hornet to give additional flexibility in Arctic patrols.

What stealth capabilities will be very useful for is offensive combat operations into other countries. While Canadians do support war when necessary, the government trying to market the F-35 for stealth capabilities most useful for invading other countries probably isn't the best tact.


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