Canadian govt. braces for F-35 report

March 21, 2012 at 4:09 PM
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MONTREAL, March 21 (UPI) -- Canada's government is nervously awaiting an Auditor General's report, which is expected to be highly critical of the F-35 fighter jet procurement program.

Some commentators have said that in the aftermath of the report, the government may retreat into a "wait and see" attitude on the project, gauging further developments both in the United States and abroad before making a final decision on purchasing the aircraft.

That process could take up to a year.

Cost overruns and technical delays have contributed to rising concern with the $382 billion Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter program.

The General Accounting Office estimates the cost of the F-35 at $137 million-$162 million apiece, far more than the $75 million price tag long maintained by the Canadian government.

Given the program's mounting problems, defense industry insiders in Ottawa expect the F-35 acquisition program will be replaced by an international competition for replacement fighter aircraft, The Montreal Gazette reported.

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