…just like the US one (and all other prospective buyers). The end of a post yesterday:
“Rivals Target JSF”/ More on why Update
Meanwhile our government claims our F-35s will cost 74.5 million each. Sure. The most recent limited production batch for the US have prices (without engines) of around $150 million each, it would seem.
Now we see the government finally coming somewhat clean:
[David] Burt [director for air requirements] conceded the $70-million to $78-million price tag per plane is not guaranteed. It could rise or fall, he said, depending on the timing of the delivery. Lockheed Martin has only recently started the F-35′s mass-production process. The earlier the slot in which an aircraft is produced, the more costly it is [emphasis added, our government says the Air Force will start receiving the planes in 2016--when full-rate production will just be starting and the full-rate price will therefore be at its highest].
Burt added that commodities prices and other factors could also drive up prices. “But they could also drive prices down,” he noted.
Talk about grasping at refuelling nozzles:
Does anyone really think the acquisition costs for 65 aircraft will stay anywhere near the $9 billion the government has budgeted? So how many F-35s might the Air Force end up with if the government does not add more money (most unlikely under continuing budget pressures)? Our slowly shrinking fighter force–unless we hold a competition?
And note this from 2008, and how our government is now being exceedingly economical with the truth when it says the F-35 was somehow selected under the Liberal government in 2001 as a result of the American JSF competition:
Canada Lowers Number Of Planned Fighters
Canada has reduced the number of new fighters it plans to purchase to 65 from 80, and stresses that it has not formally selected the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) despite having participated in its development…
Despite the widespread and understandable assumption that Harper was referring to the F-35, Canada has not yet selected its next fighter, the DND emphasizes. Like several of the international participants in the JSF program, Ottawa plans to evaluate other candidate combat aircraft before making a decision, which is required by 2012.
Yet the government rushed to a decision two years early in 2010; this, I think, is the reason.
Update: A version of the post is at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute’s 3Ds Blog. Below is a list of contributors to the blog, weird:
Upperdate: Tom Burbage, Executive Vice-President and General Manager F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program Integration, will be appearing at 1530 this afternoon before the Commons’ Standing Committee on National Defence, video will be here. Somehow one doubts the discussion will be terribly informative or to the point. One suspects there will a great concentration on jobs (pork) from all parties.
Uppestdate: No video, only audio. The opposition parties performed better than the government, asking a fair number of fairly substantive questions as opposed to the Conservatives’ cheerleading ones. Though no MP seemed to have a serious grasp of the related issues involved.
Mr Burbage held to the LM “all is well” party line, as indeed he would, wouldn’t he? He did make clear that Canada would pay the same price per plane as the US for the A model (unless there is Canadianization, e.g., for method of aerial refuelling). He maintained that the $74.5 million per plane price, for deliveries starting in 2016, was well inside the ballpark. But that depends on the numbers in actual US full-rate production at that time, does it not?
No-one knows what the production rate will actually be in 2016 (if we actually start receiving the aircraft then); therefore Mr Burbage cannot really know the price per plane then. That depends on unknown US government–administration and Congress–decisions. So our government cannot know the real costs when even the Americans do not.
As for industrial benefits, Mr Burbage made it clear that the gazillions Canadian companies are touted to make by our government depend completely on total F-35 sales world-wide. And those are increasingly unclear, both in the US and elsewhere, think of those European budget crunches. So the industrial winnings remain a crap-shoot.
There are an awful lot of assumptions in play. Mr Burbage (an intelligent and informed professional, what he must have made of our MPs) also made it clear that Canada had no substantive role in the 2001 competitive selection of the F-35 by the US, and that Canada was in no wise committed by that selection. Not the line our government has been spinning.
Meanwhile at the Spotlight on Military News and International Affairs:
Mark Collins — The 3Ds Blog
F-35’s final cost is unknown – More…
Beyond Uppestdate: Our media simply regurgitate Mr Burbage’s opening statement. Pathetic reporting:
Canada could lose out on billions in contracts if F-35 deal yanked: Lockheed Martin
U.S. jet exec shoots down criticisms of F-35
The Brits, for their part, are reducing their planned F-35 buy, probably severely. UK companies have the largest share of non-US F-35 work. Will that be reduced with the Brits’ much smaller F-35 acquisition? That’s what Mr Burbage said would happen to Canadian companies if we do not buy the F-35. And if we do buy the plane will our firms pick up some of that UK business? That would follow Mr Burbage’s logic. One wishes an MP had asked the question; and one wishes our media would.
A final note on developments abroad:
JSF in Crosshairs of Dutch Defense Review
Dutch defense minister Hans Hillen says the F-16 replacement program — effectively the purchase of F-35s — will be part of the larger review of force structure in light of planned reductions in defense spending…
The Dutch are slated to buy 85 aircraft, but there has been much talk about reducing that figure to slightly more than 50 units.
Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to pressure Lockheed Martin for cost reductions.