According to a report on Arutz Sheval, an Israeli national news site, Israel is considering “cancelling acquisition of [the] flawed fighter-jet rejected by most NATO air forces … a welcome decision made back in 2008 to purchase U.S.-made Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) jets no longer appears very attractive in 2016 – and Israel is considering backtracking on it.”
The article says that “the much-touted JSF has some inherent flaws, such as inadequate range, weapons payload and stealth capability. In addition, the Americans refuse to share the JSF source code with Israel. Israel would not be able to modify the platform to fit its needs, and would have to send damaged engines to Turkey or the U.S. for repairs … [and] … some Israeli Cabinet members say the state-of-the-art version of the F-35 jet is outright “flawed.” Israel could find itself “increasingly dependent” on a fighter-jet that has been rejected by most NATO air forces.“
If that’s true, and it must be noted that just last month the same source reported that “the heads of the Defense Ministry delegation to the United States and U.S. military and defense company Lockheed Martin celebrated the near completion of the first F-35 that will become part of the Israeli Air Force. The plane, which is code-named “Adir”, is scheduled to be completed and launched in June,” then it will be a significant blow to the credibility of the F-35 programme and it will make Canadian prime Minister Justin Trudeau look very prescient … if it’s true; or it would make the PM look smart if his seemingly very clear campaign promise isn’t (appearing to be) being second guessed by his own ministers.
But, there are reports that “Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jets may still be in the mix to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s” because, the CBC reports, “the federal minister responsible for government procurement refused to rule out a purchase of the F-35.” (That minister would be Judy Foote, Minister of Public Services and Procurement.)
It was never clear to me that the F-35 was a bad choice, or the best one, come to that. Many journalists, who, as a group, are not famous for being numerate, confused capital costs with fly-away costs and life cycle costs and then mixed up “current year” dollars with “budget year” dollars and thereby managed to thoroughly confuse most Canadians. I don’t blame the journalists: DND and the whole government of Canada is sometimes inept when it comes to presenting costs in a coherent, sensible (understandable) manner … and, sometimes, some generals and senior officials actually want to mislead political decision makers and the public about costs.
As with withdrawing the CF-18s from the fight against Da’esh/ISIL/ISIS the Liberals made a smart campaign decision in promising to nix the F-35, but, as with pulling the CF-18s, it may not be good policy. It seems to me that they’re still doing that: campaigning rather than governing, and Judy Foote is still out there “campaigning:” stretching the facts to make them fit the (competing and contradictory) campaign narratives. Does anyone really think that Lockheed-Martin is interested in entering a competition that the prime minister has already said, promised, is rigged against them? Does this Liberal government have any intention of being honest with its potential suppliers and Canadians?
C’mon, Prime Minister Trudeau … out with it! Is the F-35 “good enough” for Canada to be allowed in your “open and transparent” competition, or it is flawed and/or overpriced? Do you know? Do you care?