Canada’s F-35s do not include engines


F-35-jetplaneLike many of you, I enjoy this lazy Sunday to catch up on my reading, browse through the newspaper, and watch a little TV. Imagine my surprise when calling up Google news, I see this headline from the Ottawa Citizen: Canada’s F-35s: Engines not included with the clarification “Government will be required to provide powerplant for stealth fighters, documents show”.

“What the hell?” Believe me, I’m toning my rhetoric down for this article.

The Conservatives have continually demonstrated a logic in justifying some of their actions which defies belief. There have been times when listening to their presentation of facts and figures to explain how they arrived at the conclusion that such and such a thing needed to be done I have been angrily offended. Why? Do they think I’m an idiot? Do they think I’m illiterate? Do they think I am incapable of adding up two plus three myself? And no, the answer is not four.

Back on July 24, 2010, the National Post published an article entitled Marc Garneau: How much are the planes really worth? in which Mr. Garneau himself, Liberal MP for Westmount-Ville-Marie, Liberal critic for Industry, Science and Technology, and need I remind you, former astronaut, criticized the Conservatives for their procurement policies regarding these F-35s.

Even though this is one of the biggest single military purchases in Canadian history, even though this aircraft is not yet certified, and even though a proper assessment has not been done to determine the future needs of our Armed Forces in the context of our foreign policy, they have forged ahead with this purchase without a single competitive bid.

I put the above words in bold, not Mr. Garneau.

Last year, there was the riotously funny story of Stockwell Day justifying a nine billion dollar expenditure on new prisons because “unreported crime” was on the rise. (see Stockwell Day Dreaming the Numbers – Oye! Times, Aug 5/2010) The reporters had a field day with Stockwell saying that if crime is unreported, the police don’t investigate. If they don’t investigate, they don’t arrest anybody. If they don’t arrest anybody, there’s nobody to put in jail. No matter what stats may have said about supposed unreported crime, those crimes are unreported. Instead of offering a program to do something about this, they just want to build new prisons. Crazy.

Back to the Citizen:

The proposed F-35 purchase, estimated to cost between $14 billion and $29 billion depending on what figures are used… The DND documents… obtained through the Access to Information law… “Engines are provided as gov’t furnished equipment,” noted the documents. The term “government furnished equipment” signifies that the engines are being provided separately by Canada. It is unclear how much extra the engines will cost or whether there would be additional costs for installing the power plants into the fighters.

The Conservatives say the deal is worth $14 billion but Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page has pegged the deal at $29 billion. No matter what the number is, the question now is what are engines going to add to the deal? Harper has said the cost per plane is $75 million however Mike Sullivan, a senior official with the Government Accountability Office, estimates that the F-35 model that Canada is buying will cost between $110 and $115 million.

U.S. defence specialist Winslow Wheeler, who has also raised concerns about the F-35, has warned that the extra cost of an engine could boost the price of an aircraft for Canada to around $148 million.


“If Canada’s government can get an F-35 for the mid-70 million dollars per airplane, well they should sign a contract right now and get it delivered,” said Wheeler, an analyst with the Center for Defense Information in Washington. “Because I can promise you nobody on this earth will ever get a flying F-35 for $75 million per copy. It’s pure fantasy.”

Should I swear? I hear alarm bells. I see flashing red lights. Sirens are going off all around me. Why? It’s part of my bull manure detection system and this thing has so many unanswered questions, so many contradictory “facts”, that I’m asking myself if the Conservatives have the foggiest idea of what they’re doing. Leadership is not defined by doing things; it is defined by doing the right things. I am outraged because I’m being bamboozled.

Unfortunately, I’m guessing that we are so far stuck in the mud right now that the penalties to be paid would be so freakin’ crazy that we probably couldn’t back out of this even if we wanted to. So, no matter what the Liberals or the NDP may say about cancelling this, we may be on the hook and there’s nothing to do about it.

Gee, if I remember correctly, there’s an election coming up. I wonder if there might be a way of sending Mr. Harper a message expressing my displeasure in his performance at the helm of the good ship Canada.


The Ottawa Citizen – Apr 17/2011

Canada’s F-35s: Engines not included

Government will be required to provide powerplant for stealth fighters, documents show

by David Pugliese, The Ottawa Citizen

Click HERE to read more from William Belle

Article viewed at: Oye! Times at

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  1. Wow I know reporters in Canada have a hard time intelligently discussing military procurement but this one takes the cake. Engines are included in the “Fly Away cost”, all the equipment required to “fly one aircraft away from the lot”. DND say about $75 million for one F-35 in 2016 if the present prices decreases are continued.

    Average Procurement cost is the Fly away cost plus all support equipment, sims, weapons, and upgrades. 65 F-35 are $9 billion, $75 million per aircraft plus all supporting equipment/weapons in the deal.

    Airframe acquisition cost is only the airframe and components as added by Lockheed Martin. Engines are made by Pratt and Whitney. Together these make the Fly-away cost.

    I hope this helps clear up the confusion that this article is trying to spread.

  2. This proves Harper’s too gullible to play with the big boys; the only reason he’s trying is for his own ego and the fact he thinks all Canadians are more gullible than he is. If he gets his majority than i guess the latter is true.

    Stop Harper from transforming Canada into a rcomment_IDiculous fascist state; perhaps in 10 years china will be invading canada due to ‘supposed weapons of mass destruction’ they will find Harper cowering in a hole…. one can only hope; hey it all starts somewhere, every time. US sold saddam weapons to do their dirty work for them, when he sacomment_ID no, they went to collect his soul; they dcomment_IDn’t go to get him when he killed women and children, set fire to oil fields, but they went and got him on false pretenses when he sacomment_ID forget you shoot your own guns yourself (i am in no way saying he is a good guy just like I am in no way saying Harper can ever be one either; i just want to point out how playing war-opoly with the US normally actually goes).

  3. The F-35 is like a jack of all trades but master of none.

    The new F/A-18 Super Hornet is more suitable to Canada’s needs.
    The hornet has the ability to carry more fuel plus work as a tanker for those long arctic missions.
    The short range F-35 is more dependent on mcomment_ID-air refuelling, which is a challenge in remote locations. In parts of Canada’s Arctic, it can take eight hours for a C-135 Hercules tanker to arrive.

    The new F/A 18 twin engine super hornet out performs the single engine F-35 and at less than ½ the cost of the F-35.

    The US and some allies commissioned the building of a fighter jet to replace the teens era. Canada contributed as a tier 3 which gave us essentially option to buy.
    What they come up with is the F-22, which few Governments can afford, and bescomment_IDes the US cut off exports. Told to go back to the drawing board, they came up with the jack of all trades but master of none, F-35.

  4. CAFPilot, I would be surprised if you are actually a CAF pilot – the CAF pilots I have spoken to privately believe that a single-engined jet is the wrong choice for the survivability of Canadian pilots – despite what the manufacturer promises. The US has drastically reduced their orders – they simply can’t afford them (purchasing F-18’s to fill the gap). The UK’s order might end up as very small. Several other partners have backed out as the list of problems grows. The F35B is probably going to be cancelled completely. As the orders dwindle, the unit price goes up. It is an unproven aircraft, late and over budget. Furthermore, it is not fully stealth as some people think, and rumour in the USAF is that is an inferior dogfighter. I don’t think this article is trying to confuse anyone. The current government has intentionally been less than straight with the people who are paying the tab for something which will probably not perform as advertised.

  5. @B Beuring
    Find one source that says the US has cut total procurement numbers, be mindful that there is no other fighter program planned for the next 15+ years.
    Also conscomment_IDer the flight testing is accelerating the program is not close to be cancelled the US has no other new fighter.
    Some pilots may want 2 engines, some don’t mind but all want the most advanced jet out there. Also conscomment_IDering all Canadian jet pilots fly a single engine turboprop and a single engine jet trainer before even getting to the hornet it is nothing new to fly a single engine. Plus good survival training, flying in 2+ aircraft patrols and air dropable survival kits mitigate most of the risk. Why does Canada need a 2 engine jet when Norway who has already ordered their first 4 F-35s doesn’t need it to patrol hundreds of miles of arctic ocean?

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