Details of the Canadian government's plans to boost spending on defense have been posted quietly on the Department of National Defence's website. The new strategy was announced on May 12 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, but drew criticism then because of its lack of detail. Now the government has laid out its planned funding profile and procurement roadmap.
The plan lays out C$490 billion (c$480 billion) in defense spending over 20 years from fiscal 2008-09 to 2027-28. Of that, C$15 billion will go on previously announced procurements including C-17s, C-130Js, CH-47Fs, offshore patrol ships and trucks. Another C$20 billion is earmarked for future major fleet replacements, as follows:
- 15 ships based on a common hull design will replace Canada's destroyers and frigates, starting in 2015;
- 17 fixed-wing search-and-rescue aircraft will replace the ageing Buffalos and C-130s, starting in 2015;
- 65 new fighters will replace the existing fleet of 85 upgraded CF-18s, starting in 2017;
- 10-12 new maritime-patrol aircraft, plus unmanned air vehicles, will replace the Aurora fleet, starting in 2020;
- progressive acquisition of of a new family of land combat vehicles, with the earliest investments aimed at use in Afghanistan.
P-8 could replace Aurora. Photo: Boeing
In addition, over the 20-year plan, C$25 billion is to be spent on individual weapons, communications equipment and other capital procurements; C$40 billion on rebuilding and maintaining infrastructure; and $140 billion on readiness.