David Pugliese, writing in the National Post, says that “The criteria that will govern the selection of the winning bid to provide Canada’s next fleet of fighter jets will prioritize strategic attack and foreign ground-strike capabilities, according to government documents obtained by Postmedia — guidelines that are seen to favour Lockheed Martin’s controversial F-35 … [and, he explains that] … Though the Liberal government has highlighted the need to buy new jets to protect Canadian airspace and meet the country’s commitments to NORAD, the procurement criteria obtained by Postmedia, currently in draft form, indicate the bidding process will assign additional weight to aircraft that excel at ground attack for overseas operations.“
Mr Pugliese reports that industry representatives allied with Lockheed’s rivals say that “Those criteria are seen to favour Lockheed Martin’s F-35 stealth jet … in the upcoming $19-billion competition. The evaluation criteria also place less emphasis on sustainability – something else that may play to the advantage of the F-35, which has been dogged by high maintenance bills … [but, he adds] … Pat Finn, the Department of National Defence’s procurement chief, says there is such a wide variety of requirements to meet in the competition that while some aircraft might be seen to do well in some areas, they may not excel in others. “Somebody may be better in a high-end scenario but they’re worst for cost,” Finn explained. “That’s why we say it’s the whole piece” that will be considered in the competition.“
It is likely that four aircraft will be considered by Ottawa’s procurement team:
- Two U.S.-built aircraft ~
- Two European planes ~
Royal Canadian Air force commander Lt.-Gen. Al Meinzinger is quoted as saying that the: “key capabilities for a new plane are survivability and having an operational advantage. “We are very confident we are actually meeting the requirements of NATO and NORAD” … [he pointed to] … “the requirements for the new aircraft … [saying that ] … “Both of those missions are well represented.”“
David Pugliese says that “Canada already changed some of the industrial benefits criteria of the competition in May to satisfy concerns from the U.S. government that the F-35 would be penalized or couldn’t be considered because of how that program was set up … [after] … U.S. officials had warned that the F-35 development agreement Canada signed years ago prohibits partner nations from imposing requirements for industrial benefits. Under the F-35 agreement, partner nations such as Canada are prohibited from demanding that domestic companies receive contracts for work on the fighter jet … [the agreements says that those Canadian companies must, instead, compete for work, but] … Over the last 12 years, Canadian firms have earned more than $1.3 billion in contracts to build F-35 parts … [and] … The changes made in May would now allow some of those F-35 contracts to be considered when weighing the industrial benefits offered by the planes.”
There seems to be no change from an order of 88 jets for Canada, and, Mr Pugliese confirms that “the first delivery is expected in the mid-2020s with the full capability available in the early 2030s, according to documents produced by the Department of National Defence.”
But, do you remember this?
Promises, promises … [and now] … I’m laughing out loud at how gullible so many mostly young, often first-time and progressive voters were in 2015 when Justin Trudeau made promise after promise to lure them away from the Greens and the NDP and convince them to actually turn out and vote for the Liberal Party. I expect many will return to indolence or go back to parties that want to keep their promises.