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F-35 a bust for Canada

posted May 21, 2017, 2:58 PM by Dimitrios Simitas
May 21st 2017,

So back to the fighter discussion in government. Beyond it being a decade and a half later to meet its obligations the fighter and Lockheed have not done much to win confidence. 

We could argue until the cows come home if we need a 4.5 generation fighter. One that is marginal at stealth, at the expense of mission capability, one that locks us into a single vendor and supplier forever due how Lockheed has been locking down the avionics and the US State Department not allowing source code to leave the US. With us having to fly them to the US even for minor software updates. 

But the costs of the fighters tells us the entire story, we need a fleet large enough to cover Canada. The 65 fighters don't. Neither does the 167 Super Hornets we could buy for the same price. But it's better. 

 Cost F/A-18E Super Hornet F-35 Lightning
 Flyaway $57.5 million  $138 Million 
 Cost Per Hour $10,507 $28,455
 Fleet Lifetime Cost.
 $9.2 billion $23.8 billion

Flyaway cost, is from the US Navy budget for the Super Hornet, and from the KPMG report for the F-35. Cost per flight hour, is from the US Navy's budget, and the USAF's budget. ( )

Lifetime costs is based to 8,000 hours per fighter. Which is when they typically require overhaul, structural work etc like the US Navy and USMC have been doing with their older F/A-18 Hornet fleet. For a fleet of 65 fighters. 

Our pricing for the F-35 program is based on idealistic pricing that was made before the first F-35 rolled off the line, and the Harper Government's answer to cost over runs was to either buy less planes to keep it within initial procurement costs, and then limit flight hours to keep the program in budget. Both are a failure of the Government and the Department of Defense in their ability to keep the airforce airworthy. 

No sane government can support the purchase of the F-35. There really isn't an argument. We need fighters to patrol our vast nation. Not the latest and greatest fighter that would only be needed if we fought a war with say the US. And we already know the F-35's constantly call "home". They could ground our fleet without firing a shot. We would never know. We are not allowed access to the software like a purchase of any other fighter would. 

Make the right choice for Canada. Not the choice for a catastrophic of a failure of a fighter.