Auditor-General: F-35 purchase poses "risks"

“The F-35s ... I would hope that no one is assessing that as low risk,” said Auditor-General Sheila Fraser while answering questions about her latest report.

Auditor-General Sheila Fraser’s latest report describes the acquisition of Cyclone and Chinook helicopters as “troubling”, and details how government agencies presented the purchases as simple and low risk while continuously lowballing estimated costs in order have them approved.  This resulted in seven- and five-year-long delays, respectively, and huge price increases — of approximately 80% in the case of the Chinook (Steven Chase, “Fighter jet purchase risky, Auditor-General says,” Globe and Mail, 26 October 2010).

The report also faulted the departments of Defence and Public Works for sole-sourcing the Chinook helicopter, which the current government also plans to do with the F-35.

“In these cases of the Chinook and the Cyclone … they said these would be low risk purchases,” Ms. Fraser said.

“Obviously, the F-35 is going to be a very complex and complicated equipment to be designed, delivered. And so there will have to be good identifications of the risks and the strategies put in place to mitigate that.”

Photo by Rob Shenk

Tags: Auditor-General, Chinook, Cyclone, Defence policy, F-35, Military procurement, Sheila Fraser