• DeepBlue2020 Vanguard

F-35 not excluded from jet replacement competition

Scrapping the F-35 fighter jet program was one of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s campaign promises, but yesterday Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said the aircraft from Lockheed Martin will not be cut off from any upcoming competition for replacements for Canada’s aging CF-18 jets.

The former Conservative government’s 2010 plan called for the purchase of 65 units of the radar-evading F-35 warplanes for $16 billion over a period of 20 years was just too expensive. After the auditor general and parliamentary budget officer figured in operations and sustainable costs it was estimated that the price of ownership over 42 years would be $44.6 billion.

Harjit Sajjan

Harjit Sajjan

During his campaign for office, Trudeau said he would not approve the F-35 deal but instead hold an open competition for a CF-18 replacement and plow in the savings from the stealth fighter program to the Navy.

At a conference call from Iraq Monday, Sajjan was asked twice if the government was excluding the F-35 from open competition for a replacement aircraft.

The defence chief “ducked the question,” a report filed by the Canadian Press said.

However, Sajjan reiterated that the government will hold an open competition to find an aircraft that will replace the CF-18.

RELATED CONTENT

Canadian aerospace firm hopes F-35 program is still alive

Government office begins work on finding cheaper CF-18 replacement

“My focus isn’t about F-35 or any other aircraft,” he said. “We will open it up to an open process.”

In November, the federal government has created a new office to handle the thorny issue of fulfilling the Liberal’s promise to scrap the F-35 multi-role combat aircraft program while seeking a cheaper replacement for the military’s CF-18 fighter jets.

Paula Folkes-Dallaire, a senior officer from the Fisheries department was named Monday as senior director of the Future Fighter Capability project which will be run under Public Services and Procurement Canada, according to a report from the Ottawa Citizen.

Folke’s-Dallaire’s team will be working with the National Defence as well as the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada “to implement the government’s direction,” according to a Public Services and Procurement Canada spokesperson.

It appears the government intends to revisit the basic requirements originally drawn during former Prime Minister Harper’s time in office and come up with a new set of requirements for a replacement aircraft.

“Right now we are going through the process where you build the right requirements from that,” Sajjan said. “And from those requirements there will be a certain capability and we will open it up to an open process and from that, a decision will be made for a replacement of the F-18.”

In the United States, the Pentagon announced that Lockheed Martin won a contract worth US$1.17 billion to buy titanium and other materials to manufacture the 11th batch of F-35 fighter jets, the Pentagon said Monday.

According to the Pentagon, the company has met its 2015 goal of delivering 45 F-35 jets to the U.S. government and allies. Last year Lockheed Martine delivered 154 F-35 jets. The company is on track to mark a milestone for its $391 billion F-35 project.

The company is preparing for more production and is expected to soon receive most associated performance fees, according to a report from the news service Reuters.

Lockheed Martin is in discussions with the Pentagon regarding another deal worth $15 billion for two batches of F-35 fighter jets. The agreement for that deal was expected by the end of 2015.

Author: Nestor Arellano

Nestor Arellano is editor of Vanguard Magazine. Nestor is a seasoned journalist who has written extensively on defence and military industry issues as well as technology and business developments. He is also associate editor of Vanguard's sister publication, IT in Canada.

Share This Post On
468 ad

5 Comments

  1. “According to the Pentagon, the company has met its 2015 goal of delivering 45 F-35 jets to the U.S. government and allies. Last year Lockheed Martine delivered 154 F-35 jets.”

    And every one of those aircraft, including those “delivered” to foreign customers, will need to be modified or refitted, if not rebuilt (adding cost), because the plane still isn’t anywhere near ready for combat. One of its biggest issues is that the schedule for operational capability has slipped so many times, it’s ridiculous and, while there have been (more) promises made, there’s still no guaranty when it will be ready. Until it is, all of its boasted ‘capabilities’ exist only in brochures. Aside from its considerable cost, if that state of uncertainty persists when it comes time to select a Hornet replacement, while it wouldn’t be fair to exclude the F-35 from consideration, neither would it rational to select it.

    Post a Reply
  2. After the auditor general and parliamentary budget officer figured in operations and sustainable costs it was estimated that the price of ownership over 42 years would be $44. Where such information?

    Post a Reply
    • The Conservative government called for a number of independent evaluations of the F-35 cost. One of the estimates was $44.6 billion over 42 years.

      Post a Reply
  3. After the auditor general and parliamentary budget officer figured in operations and sustainable costs it was estimated that the price of ownership over 42 years would be $44. Where did you get this information?

    Post a Reply
  4. Interesting note. Turkey with a population of 74 million, GDP $800B (not a G8 or even G10), Average Income = $10k annual in 2014 figures is now in the forward planning stages of building their own domestic made 5th Gen fighter due to be on line and deployed in 2023. Also take a look at similar capabilities of our much smaller populated Dutch ally. In the meantime, Canada with a population of coming up to 37million, GDP in the $1.5 – 2.0 Trillion with a per cap income reaching close to $50k can barely keep 60 aging cf 18 fighters airworthy long enough to procure their replacement (should have had replacements decided on and on order 10 years ago) or 75,000 person Army Navy and Airforce competently equipped with ships and aircraft . I’m ashamed of the decades of Federal bureaucratic inefficiencies and incompetents. Like Turkey, Canada must as with our Navy ships, ultimately begin considering a domestic built fighter for our needs, not the US’s.

    Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On LinkedinVisit Us On Youtube