Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), (g) and (h), in general, departmental plans are under constant review to ensure that the plans are current. It is normal procedure for the Department of National Defence, DND, to plan for replacement of its major weapon systems to maintain CF capabilities and to ensure that departmental objectives are in line with government objectives. Data from the joint strike fighter, JSF, program are complex and constantly evolving. As a result, evaluations of Canada’s participation in the program are iterative. Due to the complexity and number of iterative evaluations, it is not possible to identify each specific re-evaluation of project costing and/or scheduling data within the time available.
Evaluation of the next generation fighter capability options occurred in two phases: 2005 to 2008, and 2008 to 2010. The first phase was to “research the marketplace” and determine what realistic options might exist. The first phase provided sufficient information on the F35 to determine if it were a credible contender. This phase provided the rationale for entering the production, sustainment, and follow-on development memorandum of understanding, MOU, in order to preserve the JSF option. The second phase provided Canada with detailed capability and cost information on the aircraft options carried forward from phase one. A detailed costing, using specific Canadian Forces requirements, was first conducted in the fall of 2009 and refined in the spring of 2010. The costing was based on information provided during visits to manufacturers, manufacturer visits to Canada to speak to senior representatives of DND and other departments, and detailed government to government discussions.
In the specific case of the JSF, the multinational joint strike fighter program office, JPO, has been continually providing to all participant nations the evolving costs of both the aircraft unit flyaway cost and the cost of sustainment throughout Canada’s participation in the system design and demonstration MOU and the production, sustainment and follow-on development MOU. A formal costing conference with all participating nations is held annually. The JPO maintains a costing database that evolves as the programme moves forward. As refined or additional information becomes available, the costing undergoes further refinement. The unit cost of the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing version of the joint strike fighter using specific Canadian requirements is estimated in the mid $70 million U.S. range. Together with associated weapons systems, initial spares, infrastructure, and project management and contingency funds, the total acquisition cost for the F-35 is estimated at $9 billion. The estimated cost of sustainment for Canada’s fleet of 65 F-35s is $250 million to $300 million per year over 20 years. Further costing exercises will be conducted by DND as the JSF project advances. Canada has contributed $10 million for the concept demonstration phase, $150 million for the system development and demonstration phase, and has committed to providing $551 million for the production, sustainment, and follow-on development phase of the JSF program.
The first evaluation of the date of delivery to Canada of the F-35 was made during phase one of the next generation fighter capability options analysis during 2005 to 2008. This evaluation was based on the estimated life expectancy of the CF-18 Hornet and next generation fighter capability option information gathered during the first phase of options analysis referenced above. This latter information was provided to DND through contacts with industry and other air forces with whom the department and the Canadian Forces maintain relationships. These relationships facilitate the exchange of information so that DND and the CF can understand and analyze the development of military capabilities and provide recommendations to the Government on future CF capabilities. In the case of the F-35, the information would have been collected via discussions, conferences, the defence attaché network and open source material such as trade publications.
After the initial evaluation, the next generation fighter capability delivery requirements were re-evaluated in the next generation fighter capability statement of operational requirements, or SOR. The SOR identifies the capability, sustainment and delivery requirements for a CF-18 Hornet replacement. The re-evaluated date of delivery was based on the estimated life expectancy of the CF-18 Hornet, research on known world-wide fighter development and production programs, and information gained by participating in the JSF program under the 2006 joint strike fighter MOU as a partner nation.