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MacKay sits in F-35 cockpit  (Source: The Star)
Canada still unsure of F-35 program

The reaction of some Canadian citizens and lawmakers has been mirroring the reaction we've seen in United States over the F-35 program. There's a lot of uproar over continually rising costs of the program and in Canada. There have also been allegations that some government officials knew the cost the program would be significantly more than originally promised, yet said nothing.
 
Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay has recently admitted that he knew the F-35 fighter program could cost as much as $25 billion. That price is billions of dollars more than the Canadian officials have publicly acknowledged. However, MacKay maintains there was never an effort to mislead Canadians on how much the project would cost.
 
MacKay maintains that the $10 billion difference between what the F-35 program has been officially acknowledged to cost and what the program could really cost is an accounting difference. The cost for Canada to purchase 65 F-35 fighters was originally said to be $15 billion. Some of MacKay's opposition in the Canadian government have gone so far as to request his resignation over the price row.
 
According to MacKay, the $10 billion difference is money the Canadian government already pays for things like fuel, salaries, and maintenance of the fleet of CF-18 fighters the F-35 replace.
 
“Yes, and it was explained to me just that way,” MacKay said.
 
“The additional $10 billion was money that you could describe as sunk costs. What we’re paying our personnel and the fuel that is currently being expended in CF-18s, jet fuel, maintenance costs — what we’re currently spending, so not part of a new acquisition,” MacKay said.
 
He continues saying that similar accounting methods are used in acquisition of other military hardware.
 
“I don’t agree that there was a manipulation of information,” MacKay continued. “Of course ministers are responsible for what takes place in their department. I’ve acted in good faith, always with an eye to providing the men and women in uniform with the best equipment that we can possibly get.”
 
While MacKay fights allegations that he misled Canadian citizens on the price of the F-35, other officials in the Canadian government still maintain that additional oversight of acquisition will be performed. Conservative party Prime Minister Stephen Harper noted last week that Canada has signed no contract to purchase the F-35. That statement hints that Canada could reduce the number of F-35 that purchases. Cuts in proposed purchases have been talked about in the past.
 
“The auditor-general has identified a need for greater independence and supervision over some of the activities of the Department of National Defence,” Harper said. “The government will put that supervision in place before we proceed.”
 
The amount of funds assigned to purchase 65 F-35 aircraft has also been capped. The cap placed on the purchase is C$9 billion, which works out to about $8.9 billion in the US. That funding includes money spent for the acquisition of associated weapons, infrastructure, initial spares, and training simulators.
 
“Funding will remain frozen and Canada will not purchase new aircraft until further due diligence, oversight and transparency is applied to the process of replacing the Canadian Forces’ aging CF-18 fleet,” Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose said in a statement.

Sources: DefenseNews, TheStar



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McKay will be fine...
By Iaiken on 4/9/2012 11:10:52 AM , Rating: 4
The real genius of the Conservatives with regard is that the project was dropped into the hands of Associate Minister of National Defence Julian Fantino. He's a junior MP and a former police chief, my money is on Fantino taking one for the team exactly like he did when he stepped down as OPP police commissioner.

It's virtually assured that unless government is thrown out (recall or no confidence vote are unlikely), Canada will acquire as many F-35's as they can for that $9 billion. That works out to 45 jets, but to maintain our current operational capabilities we will need 118 of them and 15 reserve planes. Interestingly enough, Canada can actually have that for at or around $9 billion if they simply look elsewhere.

133 Super Hornets - $7.8 billion
133 Saab Gripens - $7.9 billion
133 Dassault Rafale - 11.8 billion
133 Eurofighter Typhoon - 11.9 billion

More importantly, these other jets all have meet 100% of our pilots current actual mission requirements.

Meanwhile the 133 F-35's would weigh in at a staggering $26.6 billion and that is the conservative estimate fly away cost of today. It doesn't integrate into our existing communications network, so that will all need to be replaced (more $$). Doesn't work with existing beyond line of sight communications systems (satellite relays) that are necessary for northern sovereignty missions (puts pilots lives in danger). It's communications are incompatible with the CF-18's that it would have to operate in tandem with (more $$). In fact, every time they have actually spent the time to revisit this plane, yet another problem crops up.

This plane doesn't make any sense for Canada and I hope my fellow Canadians will finally see the "Harper Government" for the bunch of fiscally irresponsible muppets they really are.




RE: McKay will be fine...
By kattanna on 4/9/2012 11:33:20 AM , Rating: 3
why does canada need all those planes?

are they afraid of a polar bear invasion?

;>)


RE: McKay will be fine...
By Flunk on 4/9/2012 11:49:51 AM , Rating: 3
I think we already have the Polar bears in check, they're on the endangered list now. The CF-18s we already have did a great job taking out those bears.


RE: McKay will be fine...
By PrinceGaz on 4/9/2012 12:16:08 PM , Rating: 2
In my (admittedly quite limited) knowledge, wouldn't the best way to save polar bears in the wild be to ship, say, 100 or so of them (mixture of males and females) to Antarctica where there is plenty of ice and plenty of food. What could possibly go wrong?


RE: McKay will be fine...
By Reclaimer77 on 4/9/12, Rating: 0
RE: McKay will be fine...
By gamerk2 on 4/9/12, Rating: 0
RE: McKay will be fine...
By degobah77 on 4/9/2012 1:44:00 PM , Rating: 3
As of 2009? The article I just read is from April 7, 2012 and states that the polar bear 'crisis' is BS, populations are defying predictions and are on the rise, as much as by 66% is some regions.


RE: McKay will be fine...
By Reclaimer77 on 4/9/12, Rating: 0
RE: McKay will be fine...
By FaaR on 4/10/2012 8:56:34 AM , Rating: 2
Bud, as if you'd know sience if it came up to you and bit you in the ass.

You'll believe any anti-AGW bollocks spouted by a rightwinger talking head because that's just what you want to hear. You're one of those easy-to-please, low-IQ conservative ignoramuses that'll run the US into the ground just by continuing to exist and giving off random noise, drowning out everything else.


RE: McKay will be fine...
By yomamafor1 on 4/10/2012 3:00:16 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, because 3 years of conservation will suddenly allow polar bears to fully recuperate from threatened status.

Also, by 2012 April article, you mean this?

http://www.canada.com/business/polar+bear+scientis...

quote:
University of Alberta scientists Ian Stirling and Andrew Derocher say the population is neither as "abundant" nor as "healthy" as a Nunavut Inuit organization claimed last week when it used the preliminary results of a recent survey to justify an increase in the annual harvest.


RE: McKay will be fine...
By cmdrdredd on 4/9/2012 9:45:27 PM , Rating: 1
Even when it's been proven that data was falsified you believe in global warming? Full of shit


RE: McKay will be fine...
By Mint on 4/10/2012 9:08:05 AM , Rating: 2
What falsified data? You mean the hockey stick? That data is irrelevant in the AGW body of evidence. Mann's attention whoring doesn't discredit all climate scientists. If a woman falsifies evidence in a rape trial, should all rape cases be dismissed as women lying?

AGW's problem isn't evidence. Its problem is that even the IPCC's own numbers don't make the case for urgent action. Even if we can create clean energy for a 5c/kWh premium (and it currently costs much more than that overall unless you go nuclear), we're talking about a trillion dollars to reduce the temperature by 0.02 degrees. That's a pathetic ROI. Developing countries will dwarf the emissions of the West in a few decades, despite having far lower per-capita emissions, yet who could morally force them to waste precious dollars on clean energy over education, infrastructure, health, etc?

Adaptation is the answer to AGW, not aggressive prevention. If you want to do some good for humanity, build some medicine, water pipes, etc for Africa instead of giving them a hundredth of a degree lower temperatures.


RE: McKay will be fine...
By arazok on 4/9/2012 12:41:47 PM , Rating: 2
Why does the US need all their jets? It's not like your going to get invaded by anyone either.


RE: McKay will be fine...
By bryanW1995 on 4/9/2012 2:30:46 PM , Rating: 2
No, they must be prepared in case they need to bomb the Baldwins.


RE: McKay will be fine...
By GulWestfale on 4/9/2012 11:49:34 AM , Rating: 2
well said. why exactly have they not chosen the swedish plane? it's already 'cold-proof', a proven, reliable design, and became available several years ago.


RE: McKay will be fine...
By SunLord on 4/9/2012 1:40:32 PM , Rating: 2
Well given the "Harper Government" as you call it didn't assume power until 2006 and Canada has been a member of the JSF/F-35 program since 1997 so they can't be blamed for all of it given they were just continuing a program started by the Liberal Party under Chrétien and Martin they don't really have direct control over costs given the US is the primary developer and is buying more then 2,200 compared to microscopic quantity Canada is bothering with.

Also if the US was to cancel the F35 for some strange reason it would be stupid as hell given the money already spent and how much more they'd piss away developing it's replacement though given how the government works maybe that's what they want. Cancel the F-35 and then piss away another 10-20billion developing it's successor kinda like how Nasa is constantly pissing away money on shuttle successors like the Venture Star. If the government was really worried they could threaten Lockheed with putting Boeing or Northrop in-charge of the contract if costs aren't constrained


RE: McKay will be fine...
By Iaiken on 4/9/2012 2:28:43 PM , Rating: 3
The Liberal governments of Chrétien and Martin never committed to any purchase whatsoever. They committed to the development of the JSF project in order to prevent Canadian subcontractors from getting locked out. The government spent $550 million in order to create around $1.1 billion worth of trade that was directly attributable to the program as of FY 2011. They did it to expand trade, create jobs and the thought of potentially acquiring the F-35 in the event that it panned out was a very distant third.

Both Chrétien and Martin were very plain about their intentions before, during and after their involvement with the project. They had intended to put it to not only put it to contest, but to have a "Plan B" in place to handle problems like those that have arisen with the F-35.

The cost of those 65 fighters that the Harper Government had loosely committed to has ballooned from $17 billion to $29 billion with service costs expected to exceed another $35 billion over 20 years. Timelines have slipped and Canada will likely not receive them in time to replace the existing CF-18's. The plane doesn't meet our pilots current mission requirements and the costs mean we will either have to cut our fleet by 50%, raise taxes or slash other spending. So much for their projected image as responsible stewards of the Canadian economy. Worse, there is no plan B because they never put it to contest with conditions. Hell, the DND requirements may as well have read "must rhyme with Jeff Purdy Knive".

As for the lack of control over costs, I don't dispute that. In fact that is what makes the Canadian acquisition of F-35's such a monumental risk. Canada has no control over when they will even receive the planes in the first place. Nor does Canada has any control over when
the F-35 will be able to communicate from over the horizon or otherwise integrate into our military. That stuff is all in the hands of the USA and Boeing.

As for the US DOD's continued stake in the F-35, it doesn't enter into whether Canada should acquire the F-35 at all.


RE: McKay will be fine...
By fteoath64 on 4/11/2012 3:45:20 AM , Rating: 2
Well written until.

"As for the US DOD's continued stake in the F-35, it doesn't enter into whether Canada should acquire the F-35 at all."

This is totally NOT true!. The US *needed* Canada to use F35 to extend their perimeter protection as part of NORAD commitments. Without a US made plane, it will cost both governments more money in communications adjustments to ensure full operational seamlessness. But Canada is unlikely to say no to a bullying big brother, or will she ?.


RE: McKay will be fine...
By W00dmann on 4/9/2012 2:29:38 PM , Rating: 2
Here we go, yet again.

Although I agree that the cost of these planes has ballooned, the simple fact of the matter is that there is no other fighter jet on the planet that is capable of doing the job. What job is that, you may ask? Answer: functioning as a leading-edge fighter jet that can be expected to give your pilots an edge, and win almost any engagement (save, of course, against the F-22). If Canada wanted to simply patrol its borders, it would buy a Tupolev Bear for crying out loud. It does not. It wants a competitive fighter jet.

Nay-sayers love to point out that other fighter jets are cheaper. Yes, of course this is true. But no other jet on the market today (read: for sale) has stealth, and stealth is the ultimate make-or-break technology. Why on earth would you want to buy buy something that would force you to enter an air-to-air engagement when stealth could keep you out of the fray, comfortably launching your missiles from stand-off distance before your enemy even knows you are there? And up against an actual, stealthy enemy, what do you think would happen? Get ready to pull the ejection handle, your shiny new Eurofighter is about to go down.

Think about it. Sure you could buy cheaper planes - F-18's, F-15's; heck you could buy F-111's or Tornado's for that matter, and they will do roughly the same job - but what is Canada seeking to achieve? The ability to send up fighter aircraft when necessary and win an air-to-air engagement, or penetrate enemy airspace and conduct air-to-ground operations. Why do you think it bought the F-18 when it came out in the early 1980's? It was a leading-edge aircraft at the time that served Canada well for almost 30 years.

You want to see a waste of money? Buying a fighter aircraft without stealth technology would be the ultimate waste in taxpayer dollars. Watch it get blown out of the sky by a stealthy aircraft before it even has the ability to acquire it on its radar. Come on people.

The F-35 is the ONLY fighter aircraft worth buying today. Anything else is a waste of taxpayer money, and will be obsolete the second it rolls off the production line. Let's give this silly argument a rest and let Canada buy F-35's.


RE: McKay will be fine...
By Iaiken on 4/9/2012 3:03:44 PM , Rating: 1
All of your points only make sense for an aggressive nation like the US. Exactly whose stealth aircraft are Canadian F-35's ever going to go up against where US air superiority fighters like the F-22 aren't already going to be out in force? In EVERY engagement where CF-18's have been used, total air dominance was already achieved by the US and the CF-18's were just slipping in and hitting ground targets.

When you look at Canada's role in the world, the F-35 just doesn't make any sense; it's not the right plane for Canada, period.


RE: McKay will be fine...
By Galcobar on 4/9/2012 9:48:45 PM , Rating: 2
We don't know whether the F-35 is the only plane capable of doing the job.

For that matter, we don't even know exactly what is the job they're supposed to do.

The Auditor General’s report highlights that Conservative ministers announced the F-35 purchase in July 2010, a month before Public Works actually received the statement of requirements that purported to show why the F-35 was the only possible option.

The DND did an analysis in 2008 and determined the F-35 was the best choice. It has never provided documentation to explain that choice, and as the AG has reported the department was too invested in the F-35 development to objectively evaluate the F-35 (it would be in part evaluating its own work).

The statement of operational requirements, which sets out the job the plane is supposed to do, was only approved by the DND a month before the Conservatives announced the purchase in July 2010.

The DND had recommended the F-35 as the best plane in 2006.

In other words, the requirements of the job were written four years after the DND recommended the F-35, by the people who were involved in developing the F-35.

Maclean's had a rather good article on the failings of the F-35 procurement process in January of 2012. Its accuracy is greatly bolstered by the Auditor General's findings.
http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/01/16/with-fighter-je...


RE: McKay will be fine...
By W00dmann on 4/9/2012 2:36:28 PM , Rating: 2
Here we go, yet again.

Although I agree that the cost of these planes has ballooned, the simple fact of the matter is that there is no other fighter jet on the planet that is capable of doing the job. What job is that, you may ask? Answer: functioning as a leading-edge fighter jet that can be expected to give your pilots an edge, and win almost any engagement (save, of course, against the F-22). If Canada wanted to simply patrol its borders, it would buy a Tupolev Bear for crying out loud. It does not. It wants a competitive fighter jet.

Nay-sayers love to point out that other fighter jets are cheaper. Yes, of course this is true. But no other jet on the market today (read: for sale) has stealth, and stealth is the ultimate make-or-break technology. Why on earth would you want to buy buy something that would force you to enter an air-to-air engagement when stealth could keep you out of the fray, comfortably launching your missiles from stand-off distance before your enemy even knows you are there? And up against an actual, stealthy enemy, what do you think would happen? Get ready to pull the ejection handle, your shiny new Eurofighter is about to go down.

Think about it. Sure you could buy cheaper planes - F-18's, F-15's; heck you could buy F-111's or Tornado's for that matter, and they will do roughly the same job - but what is Canada seeking to achieve? The ability to send up fighter aircraft when necessary and win an air-to-air engagement, or penetrate enemy airspace and conduct air-to-ground operations. Why do you think it bought the F-18 when it came out in the early 1980's? It was a leading-edge aircraft at the time that served Canada well for almost 30 years.

You want to see a waste of money? Buying a fighter aircraft without stealth technology would be the ultimate waste in taxpayer dollars. Watch it get blown out of the sky by a stealthy aircraft before it even has the ability to acquire it on its radar. Come on people.

The F-35 is the ONLY fighter aircraft worth buying today. Anything else is a waste of taxpayer money, and will be obsolete the second it rolls off the production line. Let's give this silly argument a rest and let Canada buy F-35's.


RE: McKay will be fine...
By W00dmann on 4/9/2012 2:49:31 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry for the double-post :\ Not my fault, I swear!


RE: McKay will be fine...
By NellyFromMA on 4/10/2012 12:12:14 PM , Rating: 2
Wouldn't it be great if they purchased equipment without thinking ahead to future conflicts only to find out the equipment they did procure was all for naught?

Hey, its not the USA, do what you want...


By dark matter on 4/9/2012 12:21:40 PM , Rating: 2
Look, all Western governments have become corrupt. Friends in the boardroom, back room deals. A nod, a wink, the right school tie.

What is "right" for the people is no longer their main concern. (if it arguably ever were).

You only have to see their "love" of Islam to see that.

Of course the plane is crap. It's a politicians slush fund to make $$$'s




Canadian dollar.
By Trisped on 4/9/2012 5:55:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The cap placed on the purchase is C$9 billion, which works out to about $8.9 billion in the US.
This is not accurate. According to xe.com http://www.xe.com/ucc/convert/?Amount=9000000000&F... and Yahoo Finance http://finance.yahoo.com/currency-converter/?u#fro... 9 billion CAD would be 9,026,182,173.33 USD or 9022556390.9774 USD (XE, Yahoo at 2012/04/09 2:45 UTC -8).

While this value may fluctuate daily, both sites indicate that the USD has been higher valued for about 2 months.




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