Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What is the cost of the F 35 to Canada?

I see that we have an Emergency Meeting of the Commons Public Accounts Committee on Thursday of this week.

The Opposition Members of the Committee forced this to happen but they are concerned that the Harper Party majority on the Committee will vote to hold the session in camera. I hope they don’t, this is important and needs to be done in public.

The Opposition Members want to hear from National Defence about the costs of the F-35 JSF versus to costs stated by the Harper Party Minister, Peter MacKay.

In the US, they have already put the JSF program “on probation” because of the soaring costs and pork barrelling that occurs in many US programs.

We need to know what the costs will be as well.

It is not the minivan scenario that MacKay trots out, that you only consider the sticker price when you buy a minivan. Most of us have bought cars and vans and we consider what the mileage will be like, so we can afford to put gas in it, many of us consider what the impact will be on our insurance premiums…

And yes we look at the sticker price. The Captain’s seats might be nice and the two sets of DVD/video game systems would keep the kids happy, but if it’s for getting groceries and never leaves the city, well it’s kind of pointless isn’t it?

The other reason that we have to have the F 35 is that the other countries will have them and we don’t want to be left out. Except the Aussies just bought some F 18 Super Hornets, and the US Navy just bought some too.

The fact that the US Navy bought these Super Hornets is interesting, as our current CF 18s are basically the same model as the F 18 Hornets the Navy used to fly using the same suspension and even down to the tail hook for catching the wire on carriers. Our tail hooks are for small airports in the North.

Another interesting fact about the Super Hornet is the price, around $42 Million each. Compare that to the current $160 Million of the F 35 and for the same $9 Billion we have set aside, we could have over 210 Super Hornets compared to 56 F 35s. Or we could get 100 and set aside $4-5 Billion for gas… or pilots.

Apparently we are so short on pilots we are recruiting from the RAF who have been laying off their excess pilots.

But then again it’s probably just an accounting thing, it’s likely cheaper to hire foreigners to work in Canada than to train Canadians for those jobs.

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