Good news: Foreign Policy magazine may solve the dilemma for you. The Washington-based magazine demonstrates that Canadian opponents aren’t alone in thinking the “fifth generation fighter” (which sounds significant but really only means there were four earlier ones, kind of like owning a “fifth generation Oldsmobile”) is a disaster waiting to happen. In “The Jet that Ate the Pentagon” it pretty much dismembers the argument for the plane, largely on the basis that it will be insanely expensive (even more insanely than the costs known at present, and which the federal government sought valiantly to disguise by letting Defence Minister Peter MacKay be in charge). And besides the expense, it says, the planes don’t work very well, and aren’t likely to.
Potentially as damaging as the cost over-runs are the claims made by critics like military analyst Winslow Wheeler that the F-35 is a “virtual flying piano” that lacks agility and is grounded far too often for maintenance.
The day the Auditor-General’s damning report on the F-35 fighter jets landed, the Harper government attempted to contain the damage by announcing the creation of a new “F-35 Secretariat” to oversee the process to replace Canada’s aging CF-18 fleet.