F-35 costs to rise: Pentagon

Two new Pentagon reports suggest that the purchase and operating costs for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will be higher than originally projected (Murray Brewster, “F-35 service costs may be more than double Ottawa’s estimate,” Globe and Mail, 25 April 2011).

One report indicates (unsurprisingly) that the unit price of the F-35 will be higher than the $75 million that the government has long been insisting it will cost.

The other report suggests that the operating costs of the jets will also be much higher than earlier estimated:

An estimate by a Pentagon cost-analysis unit projects it will cost $915-billion to keep the U.S. fleet of 2,443 jets flying for 30 years.

The document, leaked to Bloomberg in Washington, forecasts a lifetime maintenance bill of roughly $375-million per aircraft.

Alan Williams, a former senior Canadian defence official, says the costs would be comparable for the 65 planes the Conservative government intends to purchase, starting in 2017.

Using the Pentagon numbers, the 65 planes would cost more than $24-billion to maintain over 30 years, well above Canadian government estimates.

The Conservative government has been insisting that the operating costs of the aircraft will be approximately $7 billion over the next 20 years. However, the Parliamentary Budget Officer estimated 30-year operating costs of about $19.5 billion. (The expected lifetime of the aircraft is 30 years.)

The Conservatives, of course, deny that anything is amiss with the grand plan.

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3 Responses to “F-35 costs to rise: Pentagon”

  1. Mark CollinsApril 27, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

    One example of the desperate poverty of Canadian discussion of defence issues:

    “A Tale of Two Commons”


  2. Victor De H. WirthApril 27, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    When will the Canadian people awaken to the truth?
    Nobody dares to challenge our Government (elected leaders) to serve their people as their primary interestest, which is internationally PEACEKEEPING and at home many prioroties, such as health care, (1) social services,(2) job creation (not in China)(3) by incentives for mnufacturing in Canada (SMALL BUSINESS) etc.
    1.Health care improvement by challenging the powerfull Medical Association to have their members work more hours and employ more people (the opposite which is happening now).
    2.Provide opportunities for working people to obtain higher education.
    3.Encourage and establish a board to assist small business growth and limit greedy large corporate executive compensations.

  3. elahug2April 27, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    No mention here of the cost of the engines!

    Any estimates on that?