Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Defence: Canada near launch a tender to replace its fighter jets

Ottawa will ask five American and European combat aircraft to make proposals to replace its old CF-18. The Department of Public Works wrote to Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Dassault Aviation (Rafale), EADS (Eurofighter) and Saab (Gripen).

Canada will he really abandon the American fighter F-35? This decision if confirmed, would be a huge blow to Lockheed Martin, which manufactures the F-35 and the United States. According to the Canadian Press, the Canadian federal government will ask five American and European combat aircraft to make proposals to renew its fleet of aging CF-18, to be replaced since 2003 but were extended to from 2017 to 2020. The Department of Public Works wrote to Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Dassault Aviation (Rafale), EADS (Eurofighter) and Saab (Gripen) to announce that the Canadian government would soon reach them.But to be open to other proposals not prohibited in Canada may maintain its preference for the F-35. The forthcoming decision will depend on the future needs of the Air Force who have not yet been defined, according to officials in Ottawa.

High bills

The Harper government had set his sights on the fighter F-35 Lockheed Martin without evaluating other devices. However, it has been criticized in a report of the Auditor General released in spring 2012 on the basis of an audit conducted by KPMG, a purchasing process without tender. Cost overruns on initial projections were finally forced Ottawa to rectify the situation. The cost of the F-35 has increased from $ 25 billion to nearly $ 46 billion for 65 aircraft. The government should have to pay this bill for 42 years. Twice the originally envisaged for a period of 20 years. When the government announced its intention to purchase 65 F-35 fighter in 2010, the purchase price was valued at $ 9 billion, plus $ 16 billion in maintenance costs.The estimate of 46 billion includes 11,700 hours of flight per year - 20% less than the time of flight of CF-18 - and includes pilot training.

"A full review of our options"

Mid-December, Canada had opened the door to the possibility of choosing for its air force fighter aircraft other than F-35 stealth U.S. due to the marked increase in the cost of the latter. Ottawa, however, did not specify what other devices could replace its aging fleet of CF-18, or when he would take the final decision.The proposed contract with Lockheed Martin - the largest military procurement in Canada's history - has been criticized by the opposition as for its cost and for its lack of transparency and the fact that it was adopted by the Conservative government without tender. "The next step will be a complete review of our options," he said simply Intergovernmental Relations Minister Rona Ambrose.

The Defence Minister defends F-35

In December, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said on reiterating that the cost was actually not confuse the cost of acquisition and operation of the device, and noting that the cost of operations, currently supported for CF-18, depended on the operating budget of the armed forces. He reiterated that only the purchase of 65 F-35 still represent 9 billion, unchanged. Seventy-two Canadian companies are involved in the development of the F-35 which they provide different facilities, and these contracts are for them to total $ 438 million. Outside the United States and Canada, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Australia, Turkey, Italy and Norway are involved in the development of stealth aircraft. Japan intends to acquire 42 copies.

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