wag, wag, wag ... yak, yak, yak ...
Ottawa's F-35 jet cost figures way off: U.S. analyst
By Meagan Fitzpatrick, CBC News Posted: Apr 5, 2011
won't get each of its F-35 jets for anywhere near the government's estimated $75 million pricetag, according to a U.S. defence analyst who weighed in Tuesday on a controversial election issue.
Winslow Wheeler, of the Centre for Defence Information in Washington, told a press conference on Parliament Hill that "nobody on this earth" is going to end up paying $75 million per jet by the time the planes, currently in production, are fully tested and developed. The cost will be more in the neighbourhood of $148 million, he said.
The F-35 purchase, the biggest military procurement in Canada's history, has been an ongoing source of contention and is a key campaign issue. The Conservative government and Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page have conflicting estimates on the program's cost, and the Liberals say if elected, they would pull out of the memorandum of understanding signed by the Conservatives. They say a competitive bid should be held instead to replace the aging CF-18 fighter jet fleet.
"This airplane is nothing to write home about," said Wheeler, who was speaking later Tuesday morning at an event organized by an Ottawa think tank, the Rideau Institute. He cast doubt on the capabilities of the F-35 and said even if they do end up being "as advertised" when it's finally finished, the model is still "a gigantic performance disappointment."
"You're getting an underperforming airplane for a huge amount of money," he said.