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Friday, December 14, 2012

F-35 Jets. What does the "F" really stand for?

This has been a fiasco for the Conservative government of Stephen Harper. The original cost for 65 jets was set in 2010 at $9 billion over 20 years. That's when it began to unravel.

The parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page estimated the costs would be $30 billion over a life cycle of 30 years because the original costs hadn't included appropriate "sustainment" costs and the lifespan was too short. But the government dismissed his report. Then the Auditor General also called the government on their estimates saying that they would be $25 billion over 25 years, but that life cycle was also too short.

The entire process was revisited by the newly-minted National Fighter Jet Procurement Secretariat who arrived at $44 billion over 42 years as more likely. The audit firm KPMG verified that - sort of. They added another 1 billion for lost aircraft over the life cycle. The cost, including "sustainment", now sits at $45.8 billion over 42 years - for the same number of planes. And that is by no means final.

But those are the Canadian implications. See the link below for the potential broader ones.

So what does the "F" stand for? Fiasco perhaps, but thanks to Stephen Harper and his sidekick Peter MacKay the song that Country Joe and the Fish performed at Woodstock comes to mind - "Give me an f!, Give me a u! . . .

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