F-35 Costs Could Rise if Canada Jets

If Canada decides not to buy the 65 F-35s it had planned to, the cost of each F-35 aircraft will increase by about $1 million for everyone else, Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, head of the F-35 program, told a House Armed Services subcommittee Wednesday. Canada’s newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has previously pledged to scrap Canadian acquisition of the F-35 Lightning II and replace its aged fighters with a cheaper alternative, Canada’s CBC News reported. Bogdan said he does not know what Canada will do and has gotten no official notification from the country about a change in status, but said if Canada does pull out, it will not affect the current development program, which ends in 2017. However, the move would impact the price of the airplanes during the production period, and would mean the country would not pay into the follow-on modernization program, Bogdan said, meaning the US and other partners would have to absorb Canada’s 2.1 percent share of the costs. Bogdan also said remaining partners would need to “have a discussion” about what to do about the many Canadian companies building pieces and parts for the F-35 program. Canada is an original F-35 development partner and expressed interest in 65 F-35As before its fighter selection was relaunched in 2012. The RCAF currently plans to stretch its elderly Hornet fleet out to 2025 until a replacement can be fielded.