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Fri Dec 7, 2012, 09:04 AM

Oh Canada


Canada says reviewing F-35 report, denies plan to cancel
OTTAWA | Thu Dec 6, 2012 10:48pm EST

(Reuters) - The Canadian government said on Thursday it was reviewing an independent report on the cost of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, but denied that it had decided to cancel its planned purchase of 65 of the Lockheed Martin Corp warplanes.

The CTV network reported earlier that the cost of Canada's planned F-35 purchase was set to soar in cost and the government would start looking at alternative planes.

The media report was the latest embarrassment over the F-35 for the Conservative government, which announced in July 2010 it would buy 65 of the Joint Strike Fighters for C$9 billion.

Ottawa consistently brushed off critics who said the figure was too low, but had to launch a formal review of the project in April after a spending watchdog said the initial decision to buy the jets had been based on bad data from officials who deliberately downplayed the costs and risks.



Federal government cancels F-35 fighter purchase
By Michael Den Tandt, The Ottawa Citizen December 6, 2012

OTTAWA — The F-35 jet fighter purchase, the most persistent thorn in the federal government’s side and the subject of a devastating auditor-general’s report last spring, is dead.

Faced with the imminent release of an audit by accountants KPMG that will push the total projected life-cycle costs of the aircraft above $30 billion, the operations committee of the federal Cabinet decided to scrap the controversial sole-source program and go back to the drawing board, a source familiar with the decision said.

This occurred after Chief of the Defence Staff Thomas Lawson, while en route overseas, was called back urgently to appear before the committee, the source said.

The decision is sure to have ripple effects around the world, as any reduction in the number of aircraft on order causes the price to go up for all the other buyers. Canada is one of nine F-35 consortium members, including the United States.



Canada’s involvement in the F-35
By Lee Berthiaume, Canada.com December 6, 2012

OTTAWA — Canada has been an active partner in the U.S.-led F-35 stealth fighter program for 15 years. Here is a timeline of the key events, including a look at the many red flags that went up along the way to the government’s stunning decision Thursday to push the eject button:

1990s — U.S. military begins looking for single next-generation jet fighter design to become mainstay fighter of the future.


2011 — Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page releases report predicting F-35 program will cost $30 billion over 30 years. National Defence says price is $14.7 billion. Federal election is triggered two weeks later after Conservative government is found in contempt of Parliament for refusing reveal full costs of programs, including the F-35. Conservatives re-elected to majority. Numerous analysts raise concerns about escalating costs and production delays. Some allies scale back plans to purchase the F-35.


December 2012 — Government receives final KPMG report, which reportedly shows cost of F-35 program topping $30 billion. Reports Cabinet operations committee has pulled plug on the program, restarting the process to replace Canada’s CF-18 fleet.



Defence procurement problems run deeper than the F-35
By Philippe Lagassé, Ottawa Citizen December 6, 2012


Several acquisitions have been undermined or delayed because of inflated requirements and overly optimistic cost-estimates. While it is understandable that the military wants the best equipment possible, the trade-off between cost and capability must be tackled with greater caution, especially at a time when defence expenditures will be increasing at a slower pace.

Attempts to rig contract competitions in favour of one manufacturer or piece of equipment have not only been unethical, but counterproductive, too. A contract for new search and rescue planes, for instance, has been delayed for more than six years owing to the air force’s preference for a particular plane. With each additional postponement, the military’s ability to effectively perform search and rescue in the future has been further compromised.

Certain sole-sourced procurements have created a good deal of controversy as well. Declaring that the F-35 was the only aircraft that can replace the CF-18s has produced the exact opposite of the effect sought by the Joint Strike Fighter’s advocates; it led to a wave criticism which led the government to re-examine Canada’s fighter aircraft options. If the F-35 was clearly the best aircraft, it would have prevailed in a rigorous cost-benefit analysis of various alternatives. Despite Thursday’s confusing news about the F-35, the government’s insistence that all options are being examined suggests that such a comparative assessment may eventually take place.

Finally, the defence department must accept an uncomfortable reality: the plan to recapitalize the military was never properly costed and is no longer affordable under the existing defence budget. Unless there is a significant reinvestment in defence procurements after the deficit is eliminated, this means that the military must reconsider what the CF’s future equipment will look like, both in terms of quantity and quality.



Tories should learn from F-35 fiasco and revisit purchasing policies
By Michael Den Tandt, Postmedia News December 6, 2012

The Harper government has gone to the wall, and beyond, in defence of its beleaguered F-35 jet fighter program. It’s time for a backward shuffle, with alacrity. There will never be a better time than now, with both carrot and stick mitigating for a reboot.

Last spring, you will recall, Auditor-General Michael Ferguson meted out an epic spanking to the Conservatives on this file, when he confirmed that the top-line cost they cited in the 2011 election — $9 billion for 65 planes, or $15 billion including maintenance and other life-cycle costs — was $10 billion shy of true.

Even the internal Defence Department figure of $25.1 billion, the one withheld from the public, was suspect, because it assumed a 20-year life cycle. The longevity of these Lockheed-Martin-built aircraft, according to the Pentagon, is 36 years. So an honest price tag, all-in, will necessarily be substantially higher than any number cited so far, by anyone in the Canadian government.

The Conservatives have repeatedly promised not to spend more than the original budget — $9 billion, plus maintenance. That’s not nearly enough to pay for the 65 planes called for, at minimum, in Canada’s air defence plan, let alone the dozen or more replacements that will be required because of attrition.

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unhappycamper Dec 2012 OP
Angleae Dec 2012 #1
midnight armadillo Dec 2012 #2

Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Fri Dec 7, 2012, 06:23 PM

1. I don't see many foreign countries sticking with the F-35

Spain, Italy, and the UK are about it and those 3 only because of their aircraft carriers are STOVL only and the F-35 is the only one in production.

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Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Sun Dec 9, 2012, 08:20 AM

2. We shouldn't either.

The next rev of the Super Hornet (called something like "international block", too lazy to google right now) would be much more affordable for the Navy. And if they want more variety the Dassault Rafale is available right now and is qualified for US carrier operations.

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