Our Bureau
03:13 PM, October 20, 2015
Canada May Dump F-35, Open New Competition
F-35a Fighter Jet

The new Canadian government will dump F-35 stealth fighter jet and will open a fresh competition to replace Canada’s ageing fighter jets.

The victorious Liberals leader Justin Trudeau had earlier in September during the election campaign had said that if elected, he would scrap F-35 program and would reopen fresh competition for Canada’s fighter jet replacement program.

"There are many other fighters at much lower price points that we can use that have been proven, that we will actually be able to deliver in a timely way," he said at the time.

Australia has committed AUS $24 billion to buy the new fighter jets. Australia and Canada had joined with the US in a nine-nation deal to build what has been dubbed the world's most expensive weapon.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott last year committed Australia to buy an extra 58 F-35 fighters - making a fleet of 72 - at a cost of around US$98 million ($134.8 million) for each plane.

But it remains unclear whether the promise to withdraw Canada from the project will add to the cost of the fighters for the remaining partners.

Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper had been an enthusiastic supporter of the F-35, pledging to buy 65 of the jets in 2010, only to later put the purchase on hold amid doubts over cost overruns and technical difficulties.

“Canada's withdrawal from combat missions in Syria was unlikely to have much practical effect.

He said Russia's participation was far more significant, along with that of the Iranians, forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and various militias,” Rodger Shanahan, a Middle East specialist with the Lowy Institute was quoted by Sydney Morning Herald new daily as saying.

"Islamic State has changed their tactics because they know they are targeted in eastern Syria," Dr Shanahan said.

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