Canada cancels F-35 procurement


Canada will cancel its intended purchase of 65 F-35s, according to a report in the Ottawa Citizen. (Our Reuters story is here too.)

The newspaper reports that the imminent release of an audit report by accounting firm KPMG showing the total projected lifecycle costs of the aircraft would be above $30 billion, incited the federal Cabinet to scrap the program.

The KPMG audit is due out next week.

Immediate interpretations of the Citizen report differ on whether the JSF will be cancelled outright or whether Ottawa will begin considering alternatives first.

But another nail in the F-35's coffin was put in by chief of the Defense Staff Thomas Lawson who told the House of Commons defense committee on Nov. 29 that the aircraft was not the only modern fighter aircraft that could be qualified as stealthy. The F-35's stealthiness had been one of the primary arguments for buying the aircraft.

Stewart Webb, a visiting research fellow at Ottawa's Rideau Institute, has long been an advocate against Canada's purchase of the F-35. In a paper co-written with Michael Byers, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia, in this volume of the Canadian Foreign Policy Journal published last February, he concluded that the F-35 was “ill-suited for Canada's needs” and recommended “a more cautious approach that mixes existing CF-18s with a smaller number of new non-stealth jet fighter aircraft as well as, increasingly, unmanned aerial vehicles.”

The two also wrote an interesting article in the National Post, which you can read here on October 30, in which they argue that, according to a Lockheed Martin information package posted on the internet by the Norwegian government, the F-35 will only finish its development at the end of Block 7 in mid-2021. Canada was proposing to acquire its 65 F-35s between 2016 and 2022 and so although these follow-on developments are voted upon by all countries purchasing F-35s because the weight of the vote is proportional to the number of aircraft purchased so the United States, which plans to purchase some 2,450 of the planned 3,100 aircraft, will have majority control on every upgrade decision leaving Canada – and others - “virtually powerless” when it comes to voting … and yet it would have had to pay its share of the costs.

Please or Register to post comments.

What's Ares?

Aviation Week editors blog their personal views on the defense industry.

A Century of Aviation Week

Aviation Week & Space Technology is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. In a series of blogs, our editors highlight editorial content from the magazine's long and rich history.


Aug 26, 2016

When Aviation Week Was Accused of Treason -- The Back Story Revealed 8

A 1957 revelation that the U.S. was tracking Soviet missile launches from a secret radar in Turkey has its roots in sleuthing of students from Kettering Grammar School in the UK....More
Aug 23, 2016

When Aviation Week Was Accused Of Treason 23

Aviation Week editors routinely get blowback when they write about sensitive topics, and the best example of that may be an October 1957 story that revealed the U.S. had been tracking Russian missile launches from advanced long-range radar units in Turkey....More
Blog Archive
Penton Corporate

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×