The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s cost will rise by $1 million per plane if Canada withdraws from the multi-nation effort to field a new stealth fighter.
The move is likely to open talks about which rest of the F-35 partner nations get Canada's share of manufacturing parts for the plane, US Air Force Lieutenant General Christopher Bogdan told a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, various media reported today.
Canadian Prime Minister designate Justin Trudeau, who was elected on Monday announced that his government will pull Canada out of the US-led air operations over Syria and Iraq. Canada will also drop out from F-35 porgram. Before election, the previous Canadian government was set to purchase 65 Lockheed Martin's warplanes to replace its aging CF-18s, which were built by Boeing.
Canada was one of the nine nations that assisted to fund the development of F-35. Further, “production of the F-35 would drop by about 61 planes,” Bogdan said. “That would mean increased unit production costs of anywhere from 0.7% to 1%, "or about $1 million per plane." He added.
Canada's withdrawal would also raise the cost of a follow-on development program for the other partners, since Canada was currently slated to cover about 2% of that cost.
The Pentagon plans to buy 2,457 F-35 for the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy at a total cost of $391 billion, making it the defense Department's most expensive weapons acquisition program.
The F-35, which began development in 2001, is planned as the fifth-generation fighter for a nearly a dozen countries, including Australia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Turkey and Great Britain, among others.
The program has often met with problems like malfunctions, schedule delays and cost overruns.