Canada Hosts Update on Multinational Joint Strike Fighter Program
(Source: Canadian Department of National Defence; issued March 2, 2012)
WASHINGTON, DC --- The Honourable Julian Fantino, Canada's Associate Minister of National Defence, received his latest update regarding the continued progress of the multinational Joint Strike Fighter Program during a successful meeting with program partners.

"The Royal Canadian Air Force plays an important role in protecting our sovereignty, and defending our interests at home and abroad," said Minister Fantino. "Canada's CF-18s are nearing the end of their usable lives, and we will ensure Canada's Air Force is properly equipped for the job we ask of them."

Canada's involvement in the Joint Strike Fighter Program began in 1997. The Government of Canada regularly receives updates and participates in routine discussions with our allies regarding the developmental Joint Strike Fighter Program that has already resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts for a Canadian industry that employs 80,000 Canadians. Canadian workers are helping to build the F-35 for Canada and our allies.

"The perspective gained from discussions with our allies and industry partners, including the Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin, has been valuable," said Minister Fantino. "While good progress continues to be made, we will always be vigilant with our stewardship of taxpayers' hard earned dollars. Canada has set a budget for replacement aircraft and we have been clear that we will operate within that budget."

The multinational Joint Strike Fighter Program represents a new model for international cooperation. Regular discussions between Minister Fantino and his counterparts led to agreement that multilateral updates add purpose over bilateral discussions and updates.

"We are demonstrating leadership to improve how Canada and our allies approach multinational development initiatives," said Minister Fantino. "We agree that similar meetings will help improve mutual understanding and collaboration to protect international stability from threats to security and human rights." (ends)



Jittery US Partners Meet Over Jet Fighter Delays
(Source: The Sydney Morning Herald; published March 4, 2012)
Australia will host a meeting of its international partners next week amid growing unease over the cost and timing of their plans to buy US fighter planes.

The gathering follows a meeting in Washington yesterday, where countries involved in the $US385 billion Joint Strike Fighter program complained to the US about delays in the project and agreed to meet more often to keep an eye on costs.

The Washington meeting was called by Canada, which, like Australia, fears rising costs and delays could lead to dangerous gaps in its air defences. Both countries need to replace ageing fleets of Hornet fighters by 2020.

The meeting will be followed by another in Sydney on March 14-15, where the eight countries involved with the US in developing the aircraft will revise procurement plans.

Australia intends to buy up to 100 of the stealth planes, also known as the F-35, at a cost of about $16 billion.

But the US, battling to cut its budget deficit, has delayed purchase of 179 of the aircraft - frustrating Australia and its partners, already jittery about the biggest single global defence program in history.

A statement from Mr Smith's office yesterday said the Washington meeting was an opportunity to share information on the project's ''issues and challenges''.

Delays in the project had given the Sydney meeting a degree of urgency, said Andrew Davies of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

''Everyone is in the same boat wondering what they should do at the moment, and the lack of certainty in the US has not helped,'' Dr Davies said.

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