There are increasing concerns about spiralling costs and prolonged delays for the F-35 (David Pugliese, Delivery of F-35s could be delayed beyond 2016, Ottawa Citizen, 28 May 2011). Pentagon officials have recently testified before Congress to address the questions surrounding the aircraft. Ashton Carter, the U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, told legislators that the F-35 project is “unaffordable” at this point.
Senator John McCain, a prominent military supporter, commented in a May 19 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee that “The facts regarding [the F-35] program are truly troubling” (Adam McDowell, What happens to Canada if the U.S. scraps the F-35?, National Post, 27 May 2011).
According to a report from Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page the total cost of the 65 planes Canada has ordered could be as high as $29 billion. The Conservative government insists, however, that the figure will be less than $18 billion.
Steven Staples of the Rideau Institute says that “The public should have no faith in what the government or military is saying about the F-35.” He finds it disturbing that while Congress has asked tough questions, the Canadian government has been complacent about Lockheed Martin’s claims that the project is running smoothly.