Canada set to spend $9-billion on 65 US Fighter Jets - F35

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pushoksti

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Unread post08 Jun 2010, 03:20

Ottawa is moving on a sole-sourced purchase of high-tech U.S. fighter jets to replace its CF-18s despite furious last-minute lobbying by rival manufacturers.

Industry and government sources said the cabinet is expected in coming days to approve the launch of negotiations on price and delivery schedules with Lockheed-Martin, the U.S.-based manufacturer of the Joint Strike Fighter F-35.

The government is moving early on buying 65 new aircraft in a bid to “lock up the price” long before the jets start entering into service in 2017, sources said.

The contract worth up to $9-billion would be awarded without competition, with the Harper government set to argue the only other aircraft that could eventually meet the needs of the Canadian Forces would be built in China or Russia, and that such a purchase “wouldn’t fly” in Canada.

But that hasn’t stopped the manufacturers of jets such as Boeing’s Super Hornet from trying to whip up a storm in Parliament and the defence community.

Lobbyists have been contacting journalists and parliamentarians in an attempt to put out the story that Canada could get new aircraft at a cheaper price, and with more Canadian content, by opening up tenders.

“An open competition to select Canada's next-generation fighter would enable Canada's government and military to obtain access to detailed Super Hornet performance data, enabling a thorough and accurate evaluation of its advanced, proven capabilities,” said Boeing spokeswoman Mary Brett in a statement.

Officially, Defence Minister Peter MacKay responded to the speculation in the House on Monday by promising that his government is set to “invest in the next generation of fighters.”

“Stay tuned,” Mr. MacKay said in response to NDP attacks against a sole-sourced contract.

Privately, government officials are saying Ottawa already made a decision in the 2008 “Canada First” defence policy to buy a next-generation fighter plane, and that Boeing lost the competition in the United States to build that aircraft in 2001.

“Boeing has been driving the town crazy,” said a senior government official directly involved in the project. “This is a classic firestorm in Ottawa, with lobbyists stirring up the town trying to stall the acquisition of equipment for the Canadian Forces.”

The Joint Strike Fighter is being developed by Lockheed-Martin, which won a competition to produce the next generation of stealth single-seat aircraft. Canada has invested $160-million so far in the development project, which will cost hundreds of billions of dollars. The U.S. Forces will buy about 2,400 of the F-35s.

The 65 new fighters that the Canadian government plans to buy will replace its current fleet of 80 CF-18s starting in 2017.

Competing aircraft manufacturers say that despite the federal investment, the Joint Strike Fighter might not be the way to go. The overarching theme among manufacturers is that they want to be able to participate in a competition, and that the government will get a better deal – and more regional industrial benefits spread out across Canada – if it opens up a tendering process.

“Competition guarantees the best value for Canada,” Boeing stated in a presentation to Conservative ministers last fall.

Boeing is insisting in its material that it will continue to produce its Super Hornet into the next decade, and that the U.S. Forces will continue to have more than twice as many of these planes than the Lockheed F-35s.

But Mr. MacKay signaled in the House of Commons on May 27 that his mind is made up. He initially spoke of the Joint Strike Fighter as the designated replacement for the CF-18s, before stating that a decision has yet to be made.

Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/pol ... le1595525/

Whether or not this will go through, it is good news since the CF-18's are on their last legs.
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popcorn

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Unread post08 Jun 2010, 03:39

So Canada is going the same route Australia did.. I think its a pretty safe bet for them and really saves on a lot of time and energy foregoing a bidding.
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Unread post08 Jun 2010, 05:10

Oh, happy, happy day! There are few things better in business than having customers buy a full order of the product sight unseen. Weee.....woohoo!

Scoreboard 79 - 1.

Ouch! :cheers:
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darkvarkguy

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Unread post08 Jun 2010, 13:53

Will they be CF-35s? :)
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Unread post08 Jun 2010, 14:52

To be honest I thought the Canadians would eventually go with the Super Hornet, but this is good news for the F-35 program. Shame they aren't replacing the CF-18 on a 1-1 ratio however.
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famine

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Unread post08 Jun 2010, 16:47

We are spending more each week on Mtce of the jets; that we could probably buy a 1 to 1 replacement with the money spent.
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johnwill

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Unread post08 Jun 2010, 18:04

They are being replaced at more than 1 to 1 in terms of capability. Sixty five F-35s are easily more capable then 80 F/A-18
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pushoksti

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Unread post08 Jun 2010, 18:14

johnwill wrote:They are being replaced at more than 1 to 1 in terms of capability. Sixty five F-35s are easily more capable then 80 F/A-18


We have a few that are set to retire. So that 80 number will be more like 70 by the end of 2011.
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lampshade111

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Unread post08 Jun 2010, 18:44

darkvarkguy wrote:Will they be CF-35s? :)


I presume they will be and feature some modifications. After all they still need to meet the usual Canadian requirements for beer and bacon carrying capacity, plus a tailhook designed to catch moose.
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Unread post08 Jun 2010, 19:51

OLD NEWS but relevant?

JOINT STRIKE FIGHTER PROBLEMS HAVE NO IMPACT AT ALL ON CANADA'S CF-18 REPLACEMENT PROGRAM, DND CLAIMS
By Dave Pugliese Sat, Apr 3 2010

http://communities.canada.com/ottawacit ... laims.aspx

"What effect will some of the ongoing issues/problems regarding the Joint Strike Fighter program have on Canada’s plans to find a replacement for the CF-18?

That was one of the questions I asked the Defence Department for a special report that Defense News was putting together.

Unfortunately I couldn’t use the information DND provided as it was more than a week beyond my deadline (the article was printed by the time they responded).

But I found the response very interesting. Mike Slack and those associated with the Next Generation Fighter aircraft office refused to do interviews (they have refused to speak to journalists for sometime now).

But DND spokesperson Jocelyn Sweet, reading from prepared media response lines provided to her by the Next Generation Fighter office, stated this about the issues coming out of the U.S.:
“The recent delays and associated costs have no impact on Canada’s commitment to or participation in the Joint Strike Fighter program and they do not adversely affect Canada’s next generation fighter capability project,” Ms. Sweet noted.

JSF is indeed a candidate for Canada’s Next Generation Fighter. That fighter will be eventually selected on a number of issues, including price, capabilities, delivery time and industrial benefits for Canadian industry.

Now in the U.S. a number of things are happening with JSF.

--The Pentagon has launched a top-to-bottom review of the JSF in regard to the cost to operate and maintain the high-tech plane over the course of its life. That follows a leaked U.S. Navy report that noted that the JSF will cost considerably more to fly and maintain that the current fleet of fighter aircraft operated by the Navy.

--The JSF program which was to produce an aircraft that cost an average of $50.2 million U.S. per plane now has a pricetag between $80 million and $95 million in 2002 dollars, Defense News has reported. This figure comes from Christine Fox, director of the U.S. Defense Department’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office. She testified in a March 11 hearing on Capitol Hill.

--On March 11, the Senate Armed Services committee heard that initial operating capability dates for the U.S. Air Force and Navy for the JSF, also known as the F-35, have been delayed to 2016.

So the cost of JSF has almost doubled and there are indications that the cost of maintenance and operations of the aircraft is significantly more than existing aircraft.

Yet none of this, according to the Next Generation Fighter aircraft office, has an iota of impact on Canada’s plans to replace the CF-18.

Like I said, an interesting viewpoint."
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Prinz_Eugn

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Unread post08 Jun 2010, 22:04

CF-335's?
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Unread post09 Jun 2010, 05:45

Minor detail, but first delivery expected in 2017? So would the first buy year be planned now for FY15, compared to FY14? But have to hand it to the office guys, who can apparently lock in an estimated price today, for a block V order in 2018, 2019? Respects to CF-18 drivers in the meanwhile and for policing Alaskan airspace if/when the F-15Cs are grounded.
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pushoksti

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Unread post10 Jun 2010, 01:19

geogen wrote:But have to hand it to the office guys, who can apparently lock in an estimated price today, for a block V order in 2018, 2019?


Its an exchange for a bulk supply of beaver pelts.
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Unread post10 Jun 2010, 14:15

Cost of new fighter jets could soar by billions with maintenance costs By: Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press 8/06/2010

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada ... 03119.html

"OTTAWA - The federal cabinet is expected to debate the multibillion-dollar purchase of new jetfighters Wednesday, but the long-term cost of the Joint Strike Fighter will be a moving target.

U.S. defence giant Lockheed-Martin is eager to sign a sole-source contract with Ottawa to sell as many as 65 of the advanced stealth fighters, but a deal on long-term service would be extra — and could cost billions more.

Traditionally, when the federal government buys a big-ticket piece of equipment for the military, it calculates the purchase price and has the cost of the long-term support package nailed down up front. It is one of the few western countries to handle military procurement that way.

But Defence bureaucrats are only able to ballpark the overall project costs, with estimates varying between $9 billion and $10 billion, depending upon who you talk with in government and the defence industry. And whenever the Conservatives decide to announce the deal for the F-35 Lightning II, they'll only be able to guess at what the maintenance portion of the bill will be.

Lockheed officials said Tuesday that the anticipated delivery date of 2017 for the first aircraft — replacements for the nearly 30-year-old CF-18s — means there is plenty of time to work out support arrangements.

"Those discussions are ongoing," said Steve O'Brien, Lockheed's vice-president of F-35 business development. "We don't expect this to be painful or take a lot of time."

There are 18 of the advanced stealth fighter in various stages of testing and qualification in the U.S., while the first 63 production models are being assembled for customers who've already signed deals. It's unclear how much maintenance the aircraft will need, but O'Brien said as data and costs are assembled they will be shared with Canada as the program moves forward.

The Defence Department got into a similar situation with Lockheed Martin when it agreed two years ago to the sole-source purchase of 17 C-130J Super Hercules cargo planes. The deal was inked without a firm in-service support contract and federal officials reportedly went through the roof when the aircraft-maker presented a proposal much higher than budgeted.

In the end, Ottawa settled for an $723-million maintenance package that covers the first seven years of the cargo plane's life — the period of time critics say is the least expensive for repairs and spare parts.

There has been a lot of heated debate in Washington about the F-35, particularly after the Pentagon last week released an estimate that suggested the each aircraft would cost about US$94 million, a figure that rolls in both the purchase price, long-term maintenance and adjustments for inflation. That's a 64 per cent increase from the initial estimate.

Despite the staggering increase, the U.S. military stand behind the project, which is intended to deliver 2,457 jetfighters to the Americans. Other countries, such as the Netherlands have also winced at the cost and there have been motions put before the caretaker government calling for Dutch participation to be either scrapped or drastically curtailed.

The Australians also balked at the price as far back as 2006, when their projected cost jumped from $10.5 billion to $15 billion for 100 aircraft. An Australian parliamentary report warned the government of the day that it was making a mistake signing on so early in the project development when "the eventual cost of the aircraft and whether it represented value for money" were still unknown.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay insisted in the House of Commons on Tuesday that no decision had been made, a statement that was echoed in just about every quarter of National Defence headquarters.

"What this government will commit to is to get the best possible equipment at the best possible price," he said.

Despite the denials, it's clear the air force has had its heart set on the F-35. An options analysis completed for the chief of air staff in 2006 said that the Joint Strike Fighter "family of aircraft provides the best available operational capabilities to meet Canadian operational requirements, while providing the longest service life and the lowest cost per aircraft."

Ottawa has already invested $160 million in the development of the stealth fighter and Canadian aircraft parts makers are already in the queue to provide components to Lockheed's entire fleet of 3,100. O'Brien estimated Canadian companies have already secured $275 million in work in the building phase and more would follow "on a competitive basis" for maintenance."
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Unread post10 Jun 2010, 20:43

Why not just to buy 24 F-35 and 60 Super Hornets, Silent Eagles or even the latest F-16 with reliable engines, very good capabilities and great range?
We can use the F-35 to suppress radars, communications centers or airplanes in the ground. The other airplanes could be used to patrol missions or day 2 of war, and even to air superiority. Russian Pakfa is far from be a real threat.
I love Eurocanards, but in the long term, there will be problems with upgrades and spares.
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