Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), currently, two engines are being developed, the F135 by Pratt and Whitney and the F136 by General Electric/Rolls Royce. DND/CF expects to make a final decision on engine selection later this year. Canada will closely monitor the US Government decision-making process on whether or not to continue supporting the F136 as an engine alternative and assess the impact, if any, on Canada and the JSF program.
In response to (b) and (c), interaction with the two engine manufacturers has been ongoing for several years. Initial information on engine performance, cost, and potential industrial benefits was provided by the manufacturers of both engines, Pratt & Whitney and General Electric/Rolls Royce, to Canadian governmental officials in a series of meetings, briefings, and correspondence.
More detailed information was received in the 2008 to 2010 timeframe. Analysis of this information has been an iterative and ongoing process.
In response to (d), specific details on maintenance costs associated with the F-35 stealth capability are still being determined; however, these are not expected to be a significant part of the overall sustainment costs. While some specific maintenance equipment will be required to sustain the stealth capability, there are no associated maintenance requirements for dedicated and permanent infrastructure. Overall, we expect the cost of sustainment of the F-35 aircraft to be of the same order of magnitude as any current generation advanced fighter, roughly $250 million to $300 million Canadian per year.
In response to (e), based on current estimates, Mar 2010, provided by the multinational joint strike fighter program office for project costing purposes, the expected cost difference per plane between the acquisition of the first quantity of joint strike fighters under the low rate initial production, LRIP, developmental phase and the JSF aircraft bought in the last year of acquisition will be a decrease in cost by $11.1 million U.S., base year 2002. The term “base year 2002” indicates monetary amounts valued at 2002 inflation figures.
In response to (f), Canada’s purchases will be from several production runs of joint strike fighters. As the JSF project advances, each production run will deliver aircraft with greater capability from the production runs before. Continuously upgrading the aircraft to a common standard is integral to Canada’s and other partner nations’ participation in the JSF memorandum of understanding; as such, as Canadian JSF aircraft are upgraded in production, all other nations’ JSF aircraft will also be upgraded.
In response to (g), the next generation fighter capability project, NGFC, team continues to evaluate upgrade costs in consultation with the JSF program office. A rough order of magnitude cost estimate for upgrading the first JSF aircraft acquired by Canada to the same level of capability as the 65th aircraft acquired by Canada is $2.4 million Canadian and has been factored into the NGFC project costing. The cost of bringing all the previous aircraft to the common standard of the last purchased production run has already been factored into the project costs.
In response to (h), as per the JSF MOU, each individual partner nation in the JSF program will pay for any upgrades on their national aircraft fleets. As stated above, the cost of bringing all aircraft to a common standard has already been factored into the JSF project costs.