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July 9th, 2014

$399 billion F-35 program in shambles

After years of Conservative mismanagement on F-35s, the only solution is an open and transparent tender process

Daily bad news for the Americans’ troubled F-35 program—including the Pentagon’s decision to ground the entire fleet—should serve as a stark warning to the Conservative government about their mismanaged process to replace Canada’s outdated CF-18 fighter planes, say New Democrats.

“The grounding of the US fleet underscores that the single-engine F-35 is still not ready—it’s a developmental aircraft,” said NDP National Defence critic, Jack Harris (St John’s East). “We need the best, safest plane to fulfill Canada’s needs, and only an open tender process will deliver that.”

After stubbornly refusing an open process to replace Canada’s aging fleet of CF-18s, the government is now poised to try to quietly sneak through approval to buy the sole-sourced F-35 sometime this summer.

“The delays, outlandish costs, unreliable performance and mechanical problems that have plagued the F-35s and put pilots at risk should have long ago convinced any responsible government to start anew,” added the NDP’s deputy critic for National Defence, Élaine Michaud (Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier).