Sunday, April 15, 2012

The pesky Joint Strike Farce F-35 has raised its nose again.

The pesky Joint Strike Farce Force F-35 has raised its nose again.

The events surrounding this flying fiasco are getting weirder by the day, if not faster. It’s too bad the name “Warthog” is already taken, this jet is getting wartier all the time.

I’ve been looking around trying to find prices, if I have to pay for them I’d like to know what the damage will be… and the amounts mentioned in an article at look plausible. You can see it here:

The article says that the Brits are expecting to pay over $160 Million a pop for these jets and that’s at the good price, the price for the partners in the JSF program.

The Harper Party script readers Fantino and MacKay are still holding to their numbers and still insisting on 65 fighters. But at $160 Million each, the $9 Billion we have set aside and “frozen” is going to come up short… by about 9 planes.

This assumes we get the same price as the UK, after all they tossed $2 Billion into the JSF pool and we only paid $160 Million

Another thing the Harper Party sticks to is the 20 year cost.

Now everyone talks about the life of this plane being 40 years, or more recently 36 years, but the Brits are costing theirs over a 50 year window. $1.4 Trillion over 50 years for 150 planes, that would be about $600 Billion for the same 50 year window for us.

Why these discrepancies? We are old enough to handle the truth so why are they incapable of telling us the truth?

Could it be that they are sugar coating the pill?

Let’s use the very tired car analogy they have been beating us with.

When you buy a new car, the service for that car for the first 2 to 5 years is quite low. Oil changes, tire rotations, just the basic stuff. After the first few years have passed, that’s when you start to repair and replace parts. Isn’t that why most people who buy new usually trade after 3 or 4 years? To avoid those expenses?

So by shortening the window to 20 years, are they trying to hide the long term cost of repair and replacement parts?

The average car lasts about 12 years, these jets are going to be used for 40 or 50 years. After about 5 or 6 years, a car gets expensive to maintain, at about ½ of its life expectancy. The ½ way point for these jets is 20 years, is it safe to assume they will become much more expensive to maintain after that point?

Finally, if we are to wait until the F-35 reaches full production, if it ever does, we are looking at 2019 before we can even get the planes. [Edit: US government sources are showing the "sweet spot" is 2021] That means that we will have to stretch the already aged CF-18s even further than they were intended to. Even with the upgrades that they received just a few years ago.

How much more will the upkeep costs of the CF-18 run in order to reach that date?

So where does that leave us?

If we stay the course, we will get the F-35 fighters starting likely in 2019. The CF-18s will be finished between 2017 and 2020. That is an uncomfortable gap.

If we maintain the $9 Billion amount of MacKay and Fantino, we will likely only get 56 of the 65 F-35 that the Harper Party says we need if we can even get that many. That is another uncomfortable gap.

Right now, we have 79 CF-18s. When the recent bomb scare occurred on a South Korean jetliner forcing it to return to BC, it was escorted through Canadian airspace by U.S. fighters.

None of our planes were available.

How many will be available when we only have 65? Or 56?

When we bought 138 CF-18s, we bought off the shelf technology. 30 years later it is still a viable aircraft.

Today we are looking at an unproven technology. Even the stealth characteristics of this 5th generation fighter are suspect.

We need a real competition to determine our future fighter jets, not a page torn from an F-35 brochure.

But most of all, we need a transparent and honest conversation to determine just what are the true requirements needed for a Canadian based fighter jet.

I don’t think Stephen Harper and his gang are up to that.

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