Thursday, February 2, 2023

Shelling out $70+ billion for a failing warplane: A dubious Canadian project


Canada military warplane waste protests boondoggle technology mismanagement profiteering conflict of interest unaccountability unsuitability corruption unaffordability

On January 9, 2023, three Canadian government ministers announced the signing of an agreement between Canada and the United States (US) government, Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney for the acquisition of F-35 fighter jets for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). Those ministers were: Helena Jaczek, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, and Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence, François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. 

This is the largest RCAF purchase in the past 30 years, with the purchase of 88 F-35 fighter jets for an initial price tag of $19 billion CAD, though critics warn that the cost will shoot up to $70 billion CAD through all stages of the acquisition. Questions about the cost to the public as well as those about the technical weaknesses of these jets has led to grassroots protests in Canada.

The case of the F-35 fighter jet exposes the senselessness of arms development and the influence of arms producers over the political leaders of the US and its imperialist allies these days. The F-35 is neither affordable nor practical, as it is part of the Canadian state’s objective of filling the pockets of war industry profiteers. 

The F-35 is described as a fifth generation (5G) high tech, primary jet fighter for the US by 2070. The seeds of its inception were sown in the 90s (dubbed “Lightening II”; the first test flight of a prototype happened in 2006. There are three models: the F-35A for the US Air Force to replace the A-10 and F-16, which was deemed ready for use in 2016; the F-35B with vertical landing capacity for the US Marines to replace Harriers, which was deemed ready in 2015; and the F -35C to replace the carrier aircraft F-18 for the US Navy and US Marines, which was deemed ready by 2018. 

The US F-35 Program selected Lockheed Martin manufacture the jet, who has partnered with Northrop Grumman and BAE systems. It demands that NATO partners acquire F-35s. NATO is a creation of Lockheed Martin, who likes the manufacturing of wars to increase production and sales of its war technology.  (more...)

Shelling out $70+ billion for a failing warplane: A dubious Canadian project

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