|Pressure increases on Conservatives to stay or leave F-35 program 22 May 2013 Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA - The Harper government may have "hit the reset button" on the purchase of F-35s, but planning for the stealth fighter continues â€” and Canada is facing a series of deadlines that will increase pressure to stick with the program.
Eight Canadian military officers continue to work on the multinational program in the U.S., at both the Pentagon and at Edwards Air Force Base in California, where they fill a variety of technical and planning roles.
An additional 16 military officers and civilians also work on the possible acquisition in Canada, according to a statement from the public works secretariat, which is overseeing the replacement of the air force's current fleet of CF-18s.
They will remain on the project until the government makes a decision whether to continue with the F-35 purchase, or buy some other fighter jet, the secretariat said....
...The country is so involved that Canadians are due to take over chairmanship of a key multinational board at the Pentagon's Joint Strike Fighter project office in the spring of 2014....
...Documents show the lead time between ordering a jet and its delivery is four years.
And in order to keep the program on track, " the first aircraft in 2016, must have procurement expenditure authority to formalize (Joint Strike Fighter) Program Partner Procurement Request by (no later than) Fall 2012,'' warned a Aug. 19, 2011 slide deck written by the project management office."
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