Mrt 23 2011

From Canada: some hard questions about the F-35 purchase

Gepubliceerd door om 20:19 onder Global F35 News

Long-time journalist, Brian Stewart asks some hard questions about the purchase of 65 F-35 “Joint Strike Fighters” by the Harper conservative government.

Libyan operation shows lack of arguments to buy F-35

How curious it is to see Canada’s limited role in the Libyan operation being used to justify the proposed purchase of the super-expensive F-35 fighter jets.
I’d say the situation suggests exactly the reverse.
If anything, this UN-sponsored mission raises new questions about the wisdom of buying 65 of these Lockheed-Martin “Joint Strike Fighters,” which are still in the test phase.
Particularly when the price tag ranges from a low of $14.7 billion (government estimate) to a stunning $29 billion (Parliamentary Budget Office prediction).

Some questions ……..

So we should really be asking ourselves more hard questions. Like, just what will the F-35 missions be? How many fighters do we really need for training and deployment? As opposed to just want in order to look good in NATO?

And are there cheaper alternatives that can satisfy national security and foreign commitments?

We still have time to reconsider. There’s some wriggle room in Canada’s arrangement with Lockheed Martin and delays with early production may now push delivery of the F-35s back to 2018.

What’s more, most NATO countries now appear to be cutting back on aircraft orders as well, so we’d be no exception.

In the meantime, shouldn’t we be asking ourselves whether a more modest procurement might, for example, free up more funds for our undersized navy, which every year is called out on some international or humanitarian deployment?

Like buying a new car after viewing only one model

Now the possible alternatives to the F-35 barely get a mention, and most of us may not know what they even look like, let alone cost. It’s like being told to buy a new car after viewing only one model.

I’m not against the F-35 if it turns out to be the best plane for our needs. But how far superior is it to the Boeing F-18E Super Hornet, a larger and more advanced offshoot of our current fighter, and which the elite U.S. carrier pilots will use along with the F-35.

Is there a deal to be had for Europe’s Typhoon “Eurofighter,” which will fly for NATO alongside the F-35 (and which competes for sales)?

The government argues that only the F-35 is fifth generation or a “stealth” fighter while the others are merely 4.5, which means not there yet.

But the F-35 is only partially stealth and, anyway, it’s not at all clear how critical the difference such an advantage would be given our usually limited overseas air role.

You can read his complete article on CBCNEWS/World.

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