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F-35 Decision Back To Harper

Government departments have finished their reports on fighter options for the RCAF.

Government departments have finished their reports on fighter options for the RCAF.

The Harper government now has all the information it has asked for to make a decision on how to move forward with acquiring new fighter jets for the RCAF.

The RCAF has finished a comprehensive report comparing the costs and capabilities of the Lockheed Martin F-35 and its rivals, the Eurofighter, FA/18 Super Hornet  and Dassault Rafale, effectively putting the issue of how to proceed back in the laps of the government.

The F-35 was the presumed successor to the current CF-18s through Canada’s participation in a nine-nation development partnership. But a scathing report on the true cost of the program from Auditor General Michael Ferguson (whose numbers have been disputed and questioned) created a political firestorm that caused the government to take the procurement away from the military and put the F-35 purchase on hold.

The Ministry of Public Works is now overseeing the procurement and recently submitted its market analysis to the Harper government.

With a federal election coming next October, there is widespread speculation the government will sit on the information and wait until after the vote to make a decision.

The options include going ahead with the F-35 process or beginning an open bidding process that will allow the other manufacturers to formally make their cases.

The timeline is getting tight, however. If Canada doesn’t order its first batch of F-35s next year, the delivery date will slip to beyond 2018, several months after the RCAF wanted to begin retiring the CF-18s. Without an expensive life extension process, the Hornets have to be retired by 2020 when their airframes time out.

If it wants to maintain the 2018 delivery schedule, Canada has to start paying for the aircraft next year, in the midst of the campaign.

Meanwhile, the aircraft has accumulated 15,000 hours of flight time and Lockheed Martin has announced it will be taking the aircraft outside the U.S. for the first time to perform at air shows in England, including Farnborough.

 

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F-35 Decision Back to Harper

The Harper government now has all the information it has asked for to make a decision on how to move forward with acquiring new fighter jets for the RCAF. The RCAF has finished a comprehensive report comparing the costs and capabilities of the Lockheed Martin F-35 and its rivals, the Eurofighter, FA/18 Super Hornet  and
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McLeod Salvages Fourth in Rovinj

Pete McLeod hits a pylon during racing at Rovinj. Photo by Samo Vidic Canadian Red Bull Air Race competitor Pete McLeod says he was lucky to salvage a fourth place finish out of last weekend’s race in Rovinj, Croatia. The London, Ont. native said clipping a pylon in the qualifying round should have kept him
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First Air Fires Wayward Pilots

First Air has fired two pilots who went off course on a routine flight March 31. First Air said Thursday it dismissed pilots who got lost on a routine flight from Rankin Inlet to Iqualuit last month. The unidentified pilots flying a Boeing 737-200 wandered 225 km off course before being notified of the error
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Garage Sale Ends Arctic Air

After three years in prime time, the CBC series Arctic Air ended its run with a season finale April 9 but fans had the chance to take home lasting memories of the show. The show’s production company, Vancouver-based Omnifilm, held a giant garage sale in an elementary school in nearby Aldergrove selling everything from native
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First Air, Air North May Merge

The North’s two largest airlines, First Air and Air North, have entered into discussions for a “merger of equals.” The merger would create an airline that covers the entire Arctic with connecting flights to southern destinations from Vancouver to Montreal. “The potential merger is intended to create a single airline entity that builds on the
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