Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Canada's benefit from F-35 work a question mark

  • Print

OTTAWA -- Amid the avalanche of figures, statistics, estimates and soothing political assurances coming this week on the Conservative government's troubled stealth fighter program, one report will warn about the lagging benefit for Canada's aerospace sector.

It could prove more damaging in the long run than the bruising debate about the eye-popping cost of the multi-role fighter, say some experts.

"What we're talking about here is pork," said Winslow Wheeler, a U.S. aviation expert and long-standing critic of the F-35.

"The government has been promising the world, but that's going to be very different than what's in hand."

When the Harper government announced its intention to buy the Lockheed Martin-built F-35 Lightning II in 2010, government ministers trumpeted the benefits to Canadian aerospace companies.

The air force's research, largely based on information from the U.S. manufacturer, suggested Canadian industry would be in line for as much as US $12 billion in manufacturing or spare-parts contracts over the life of the project.

Industry Canada quietly lowered those expectations last spring to US $9.85 billion following a blistering report from the auditor general on how the program has been managed.

Government sources say a benefits analysis coming this week as part of a Public Works agency report to Parliament suggests Canadian companies will struggle to reach the US$9-billion mark, thanks to stiff competition from other nations whose participation in the F-35's development has given them preferential access to the U.S. manufacturer's supply chain.

The F-35 project is unlike traditional military procurements in which the winning contractor is required to spend the equivalent of the contract value in Canada, either directly through subsidiaries or by placing work elsewhere in the economy.

The system established for the F-35 sees countries that participated in the development given the chance to bid on supply and sustainment contracts without any guarantee, thereby bypassing the regular system.

To date, 70 Canadian companies have secured more than US$435 million in contracts on the development and initial production of the fighter.

But retired air force colonel Paul Maillet, who worked on the acquisition of the current CF-18 fleet, said reaping only $9 billion from the expenditure of more than $40 billion in public funds could come back to haunt the government.

"The way they structured the industrial benefits package, it wasn't to our benefit," Maillet said.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 11, 2012 A14

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Kenney commends McDonald's on taking action on foreign worker controversy

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A goose cools off Thursday in water at Omands Creek Park-See Bryksa 30 day goose challenge- Day 25– June 21, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A group of Horese pose for the camera in the early evening light at Southcreek Stables in Stl Norbert Wednessday. Sept  14, 2011 (RUTH BONNEVILLE) / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you support a proposed ban on tanning beds for youth under 18?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google