F-35, Competitors Equally Capable for Most Missions: Report
(Source: Ottawa Citizen; published Dec 10, 2014)
By Lee Berthiaume
OTTAWA --- A highly-anticipated, government-commissioned report on the F-35 and its competitors shows little difference between the four warplanes when it comes to the vast majority of missions they will be required to perform.
The only major exception is fighting against another country, though the report says such an event is “highly unlikely” to occur in the future, and even then, “the government is not obliged to undertake such a mission.”
The findings are expected to set off another round of bitter debate in the House of Commons and defence circles over whether the government should move ahead with purchasing the F-35.
In particular, critics will likely hold the report up as proof the F-35 isn’t the only aircraft that can meet Canada’s needs, and that a fair and open competition is the only way to ensure the best plane at the best price.
The report shows all four aircraft were capable of protecting Canadian airspace and performing four of the other missions with minimal risk. “This was due to the fact that most of these missions involve relatively low level of threat and are less onerous for fighter aircraft,” the report says. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Montreal Gazette website.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Now that it has been made public, it is clear why the Canadian government delayed release of this report by well over six months: it squarely contradicts the government mantra that only the F-35 can meet Canada’s military requirements.
Sources that have seen the classified version of the report say the F-35’s only competitive advantage is that it has a better growth potential for the post-2030 time-frame, which hardly justifies its higher price and higher sustainment costs.
Also of interest are the conclusions of two other reports also released by Canada on Dec. 10 (see following item):
-- Despite Lockheed-Martin’s and the F-35 Joint Program Office’s claims of lowering costs, Canada reports that its estimate of F-35 acquisition and operating costs increased by C$141 million since the previous estimate in Dec 2013;
-- While Lockheed and the Canadian government make claims of large industrial benefits of an F-35 purchase, Canadian companies have received C$50 million of new contracts in the past year, bringing the grand total to date to C$637 million.
In comparison, Canada had reportedly paid out C$335 million for its participation in the program and support to industry (including US$160 million as its share of program costs).
Finally, it is also worth noting that, on June 5, Reuters claimed a scoop when it reported – from Washington – that “Exclusive: Canadian review will recommend buying Lockheed F-35 fighter jet – sources.”)
F-35 Purchase Cost Could Rise By $1B to Replace Lost Aircraft (excerpt)
(Source: CBC News; posted Dec 10, 2014)
A new report released by the Department of National Defence says that if the Canadian government goes ahead with the purchase of the controversial F-35 fighter jet, it could have to pay an additional $1 billion to replace lost aircraft over the life of the fleet.
The findings are contained in the department's third annual update on the potential cost to replace the CF-18 fleet with F-35 aircraft.
"It is estimated that seven to 11 aircraft could be lost over the useful life of the fleet and the cost to replace these lost aircraft could be in the order of $1 billion," the report says.
The report assumes the delivery of the first aircraft would come in 2020 taking into account the life extension of the CF-18 fleet to 2025.
The report estimates that Canada would pay $45.8 billion for the life-cycle cost of 65 F-35s, an increase of $141 million from the 2013 estimate. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the CBC News website.
National Fighter Procurement Secretariat Releases Reports
(Source: Public Works and Government Services Canada; issued Dec 10, 2014)
OTTAWA, Ontario --- The National Fighter Procurement Secretariat today released the:
-- 2014 National Defence Annual Update
on the life-cycle cost estimates for the F-35; the
-- independent review
of the Annual Update, and the
-- latest report on Canadian industrial participation
in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program.
These reports were also tabled in Parliament.
The Secretariat also fulfilled its commitments under the Seven-Point Plan and is demonstrating transparency in releasing all unclassified reports.
No decision has been made on the replacement of Canada’s fighter fleet. (Emphasis added—Ed.)
To ensure that Canada retains a fighter capability during a transition to a new fleet, National Defence has extended the life expectancy of the CF-18s to 2025.
-- The 2014 National Defence Annual Update, independently reviewed by Raymond Chabot Grant, Thornton outlines an overall increase of 0.3 per cent from the 2013 Annual Update in the estimated life-cycle costs over 40 years.
-- Through Canada’s continued participation in the Joint Strike Fighter Program, companies in Canada have secured US $637 million in contracts to date, an increase of US $50 million since the summer 2014 report.
-- Canada will continue to participate in the Joint Strike Fighter Program to keep all options open until a decision is made on the replacement of the CF-18 fleet.
-- By posting the unclassified summary report on the Evaluation of Options, the Secretariat is respecting its agreements with other governments and the companies that participated in the process to not release classified and commercially sensitive information, while meeting its commitment to transparency.
For more information, please visit the National Fighter Procurement Secretariat
All reports are available on the National Fighter Procurement Secretariat website.