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Tuesday, April 05, 2011 

U.S. Defense Expert Says Fighter Jet Costs Will Be DOUBLE What Harper And The Conservatives Claim

"Ottawa says the planes will cost about $9-billion to buy, and another $6-billion for service over the first 20 years of their life span. That $9-billion cost estimate to buy the fleet includes a package of equipment and modifications to get the planes flying, but pegs the price of each plane at $75-million.

But Mr. Wheeler argues that price tag, once cited as the “non-recurring fly-away” in the United States, has been abandoned by the planes’ proponents. It usually doesn’t include engines and avionics to get the planes flying, and it includes adjustments to 2002 dollars, plus an ample expectation that the cost of each plane will get markedly cheaper as the manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, learns how to build them more efficiently.

“To get to that number, they use several crude, disingenuous tricks. And they sprinkle a little fairy dust, in terms of ‘learning curve’ and other magical potions, to pretend it’s got some science behind it,” he said. “It’s all hogwash.”

“Ultimately,” Mr. Wheeler predicted, “the cost of this airplane is going to be about $200-million per airplane.”

Globe & Mail

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"OTTAWA - A U.S. defence analyst says Canada's new fleet of stealth jet fighters will cost almost double what the Conservative government is projecting.

Winslow Wheeler, of the Centre for Defense Information in Washington, injected himself directly into the federal election by providing his estimate at a news conference on Parliament Hill.

Wheeler says the unit cost of the F-35 jet will be about $148 million per airplane - an estimate that is in line with what the parliamentary budget officer has projected.

The government says the unit cost will be up to $75 million per jet, and has mounted repeated public attacks on the budget officer's estimate.

The untendered jet purchase is a contentious issue during the federal election campaign - the Liberals want to scrap the deal, saying it's not the way to go while the country is in deficit.

Wheeler worked for three decades on security issues for the U.S. General Accounting Office and members of the U.S. Senate."

Global News

This is anything but a surprise. From the moment I heard the F-35 bandied about as a replacement for the CF-18 I had serious reservations. On price and capability both. Lockheed-Martin are the most renowned war profiteers in the arms business. Have they ever come in on-time and under budget with any of their products?

And I really don't think that an overpriced, limited, single-engine aircraft can fill the Hornet's boots.

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