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  • Canada Wobbles on JSF
    Posted by Bill Sweetman 11:22 AM on Mar 14, 2012

    Canada's government is starting to make noises about its commitment to the Joint Strike Fighter program. Step forward, associate minister for defence Julian Fantino:
    "We have not as yet discounted, the possibility, of course, of backing out of any of the program," Fantino ... told the House defence committee Tuesday.
    His statement comes after the meeting of JSF partners that Canada organized in Washington on March 2, and before a formal meeting of the JSF Executive Steering Board in Australia. More detail here.

    Does Fantino mean that the Harper government is considering the abolition of Canada's combat air force? Let's go back to October 2010, and to the statement of procurement minister Dan Ross,

    Let’s remember we are acquiring a fighter for the next 30 or 40 years. I would ask whether you would want your son or daughter or future granddaughter in yesterday’s technology or in the most effective and secure aircraft in the future.
    Let’s state the obvious: you must have more than one viable supplier to have a competition, and there is only one fifth-generation fighter available.

    It's the only aircraft in the western world that meets the operational requirements of the CF. [Emphasis added.]
    That last statement has been repeated ad infinitum by both civilian and military leaders, based on a requirements document hastily ginned up in June 2010, a few weeks before Canada committed to the JSF - a document which is mostly unclassified, but that the government has refused to release.

    So, does the possibility of withdrawing from JSF mean that the Canadian government is willing to see its granddaughters shot down in flames? Or abolish its air force? Or does it mean that the requirements document was a sham that can be quietly binned if necessary, because nobody has seen it?

    Just for amusement, here's my contemporary take on Ross.

    Tags: ar99, tacair, jsf

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