Canada will remain an F-35 development partner “to keep all options open until a decision is made” on what aircraft, or mix of aircraft, will replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s CF-18 Hornet fleet, stated an annual summary released on Dec. 10. The RCAF now plans to stretch its aged Hornet fleet out to 2025, and “the project to replace the CF-18 is currently in the options analysis phase,” according to an annual update to Parliament on fighter procurement. The RCAF planned to acquire 65 F-35As, but relaunched its fighter replacement program due to cost growth and political pressure in 2012, mandating annual cost-updates to Parliament. Notional plans still call for a 65-strong fleet, if the F-35 is selected as the sole-replacement. Canada has invested $288.7 million in the F-35 program to date, and Canadian companies have gleaned a total of $587 million in F-35 contracts, according to the government’s unclassified summary.
Adm. Christopher Grady, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs and head of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, is pushing a “portfolio” approach to requirements and wants his position to have “more teeth” so he can enforce it.