Canada's F-35 Decision Anxiously Awaited, Says U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defence (excerpt)
(Source: CBC News; posted: Mar 10, 2016)
The U.S. deputy secretary of defence says he'd like the Canadian government to make up its mind, one way or the other, whether it will replace its aging CF-18 fleet with Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighter jets.

"Because Canada has been a partner in the F-35 program, if they withdraw — I think it's 65 airplanes — the price for all the other members in the coalition goes up slightly," said Robert Work, in an interview with Rosemary Barton, host of CBC News Network's Power & Politics.

The Conservative government had planned to acquire 65 F-35 stealth fighter jets for the Royal Canadian Air Force, but the procurement process was put on hold after the auditor general accused the government of fudging the project's costs and not doing sufficient research.

One of the new Liberal government's main campaign pledges was to buy a less-expensive aircraft and plow the savings into the navy.

However, since taking office, Canada's Minister of Public Services and Procurement Judy Foote has said Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighter jets may still be in the mix to replace Canada's CF-18s.

Most costly weapons program in U.S. history

"It's important for Canada to make the decision on the aircraft that they need for their national interest, and then the United States and Canada can work it out," said Work.

Work said he doesn't think the Canadian government is dragging its feet, but the U.S. is watching closely.

"I work in the Pentagon, so I measure time different ways than other people, so I don't believe it's been long. These are very important political decisions and defence decisions for Canada to make, and we're not trying to pressure them in any way," said Work in an interview at the Pentagon.

"We'd like to know, we're anxious to know, where exactly will you go so we can start to plan together. But these types of decisions are made in due course and we're looking forward to the final decision."

Click here for the full story, on the CBC News website.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: “The chief executives of Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co., who are vying to replace Canada’s aging fleet of fighter jets, both made the guest list for the White House’s State Dinner on Thursday in honor of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,” Bloomberg News reported from Washington March 10.
“Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg and Lockheed CEO Marillyn Hewson are among several business leaders that will share toasts with Trudeau, whose party pledged during last year’s election to abandon plans to buy Lockheed’s troubled F-35 stealth fighters.”)


F-35 Rival Upbeat with Trudeau Liberal Signals On Defence Priorities (excerpt)
(Source: Canadian Press; published Mar 10, 2016)
By Murray Brewster
One of the leading contenders to replace Canada’s aging fleet of fighter jets says it believes the Trudeau government’s emphasis on North American air defence will stand it in good stead once the competition is launched.

Senior executives at Boeing say their Super Hornet aircraft’s rugged design and twin engines make it the most appropriate jet for operations in the Arctic.

The air force is working on a revised list of requirements for a new fighter jet, something that could come as early as next week, and officials with the Chicago, Ill. company, which has in the past shied away from the spotlight, agreed to a rare interview.

The Liberals promised last October to scuttle plans to buy Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter and hold an open, transparent competition to replace the existing fleet. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also promised the new jets would be cheaper than the stealth fighter and that the savings would be spent rebuilding the navy.

But other aspects of the government’s defence agenda caught Boeing’s attention _ including language that suggests homeland defence, as opposed to overseas warfighting operations, is where the government sees its priorities.

Roberto Valla, vice president of global sales for Boeing in Canada, says the Super Hornet is outfitted for war but its sturdy design — meant for aircraft carrier landings — gives it a unique advantage, and it’s cheaper to operate and maintain.

As proof of the lower cost, he pointed to annual Pentagon reports that show a lower maintenance bill for the Super Hornets already in service. But it was the durability of the aircraft that Valla was most eager to tout. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the IPolitics CBC News website.


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