The Chief of the Air Staff, Lt.Gen. Andre Deschamps, Explains The Reason For The Purchase Of The F-35 Jet Fighter As A "Sole Source" Purchase.
This is another National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada (NEPMCC) coordination by President Tom Saras taking place in the Department of Defense (DOD) offices.
Canada has committed to purchase 65 F-35 fifth generation fighters for $16 billion without a bidding process causing a huff in parliament. Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has, much like former Liberal Leader Chretien, urged the cancellation of the contract (paying a substantial penalty).
The pricing breakdown has 60-65% for the airframe whereas the rest is for weapons, simulators, training and infrasructures for the whole extent of the airplane's life, 30-40 years.
The question to LGen Descchamps was how they came to choosing the F-35 as replacement to the CF-18.
"Some of it is hyperbole built around the issue as to how we got to where we are with the F-35. The government decided in 1998-99 as a country to become involved in the development of the F-35 as a partner. As a group, when you want to become a participant, in which you wish to procure the aircraft, you enter into a "Memorandum Of Understanding" (MOU) that allows you to do that within that group of JSF (joint strike fighter) participants.
“We started up to become part of that early period partnership to develop the aircraft. In 2001-2002 they went to a demonstration phase where they decided which aircraft was going to be the joint strike fighter. It was a competition between the two big companies that have fifth generation fighters, which was Boeing and Lockheed-Martin, to pick a fifth generation fighter that would become the joint strike fighter for that future coalition. We have been part of that process industrially since the late nineties as a government.
“We shifted our goal in 2008. Up until that point the government had not announced its intention to replace the F-18. We modernized the F-18. We spent money on the F-18 to maintain its relative use until the end of their life, until they run out of time. But the government had not announced that they were going to replace the fighter with another fighter.
“In 2008, in the Canada First Defense Strategy, Canada would replace the F-18 with the next generation fighter. At that point we had the goverment's clear intention that we were going to go for another manned fighter after the F-18. That allowed us to finish the analyses as to which fighter after the F-18 it should be. Of course we had been with the JSF program for ten years. So we had a pretty good idea what that program looked like. So we had to look what else was out there, as far as options to be considered.
“So we had done all that analyses of what was out there, what were the requirements for future fighters and therefore what were the options. So we've done the research for many, many years. We see that the F-35 was the only aircraft that met our requirements. These airplanes have to last for thirty-forty years in the complex environment." said LGen Andre Deschamps.
There are nine partners in the program wth additional members joining all the time (Japan was the most recent). Canada has $12 billion worth of contracts dependent on the acceptance of the program.
Interview with Lt.Gen. Andre Deschamps