Canada will be phasing out their CF-18 Hornets some time around 2017-18.
While Canada is a JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) partner nation, does that mean that they will get the F-35 to replace their old jets? Maybe. Maybe not.
Some want a decision on this in the next 12 months. Also the number of aircraft that Canada is looking at purchasing is around 65; not the original 80.
One of the concerns? Cost. No one knows what an F-35 commitment will cost Canada other than the usual happy-face sales hype.
The supposed low price of the F-35 in some JSF partner nation multi-year sale for early buyers that LM was trying to generate interest in is long dead with events like the Dutch debacle earlier in the year. Also there is the hype being PowerPointed as fact that a JSF partner nation will get at least $5B in home industry benefit if they go with the LM jet. This has been interpreted as a certainty by some gullible sheep as opposed to the reality of “opportunity” for that kind of home work share.
UAVs have been floated as a replacement. I have seen the public consumption paper on the UAV thing as a replacement for the legacy Hornets and it isn’t based on much reality if someone at least wants the basic skill of air sovereignty patrols.
And then there is Boeing-
But in May, Lockheed Martin’s competitors were in Ottawa promoting their fighter planes, which they say are cheaper.
“We believe we are much less expensive than the JSF and we have industrial benefits for Canadian industry available right now,” said Boeing official Glenn Erutti.
Boeing is trying to interest Canada in an advanced F-18 aircraft called the Super Hornet. BAE Systems and Saab Aerospace were also interested in offering aircraft to Canada.
Industry representatives are divided over the JSF — some say the program will provide major benefits for Canada’s aerospace industry but others note only a limited number of companies will see work from that contract and better benefits might be gained from a competition to replace the CF-18s.
There has also been some concern among nations, including Canada, about the final price of the JSF. Last year, Lockheed Martin announced it was looking at offering Canada and other nations interested in the aircraft a deal that would see the price of each plane ordered set at around $50 million in return for a commitment to purchase by a certain time.
Defence Department spokeswoman Annie Arcand said no decision has been made by the government on the choice of a next generation fighter aircraft or on the procurement approach for that.
The really big thing to remember is Canada isn’t a big spender on Defense.