You could get rapidly up to speed through this major article at Defense Industy Daily:
F-35 Lightning: The Joint Strike Fighter Program, 2012
The $382 billion F-35 Joint Strike fighter program may well be the largest single global defense program in history. This major multinational program is intended to produce an “affordably stealthy” multi-role fighter that will have 3 variants: the F-35A conventional version for the US Air Force et. al.; the F-35B Short Take-Off, Vertical Landing for the US Marines, British Royal Navy, et. al.; and the F-35C conventional carrier-launched version for the US Navy. The aircraft is named after Lockheed’s famous WW2 P-38 Lightning, and the Mach 2, stacked-engine English Electric (now BAE) Lightning jet. Lightning II system development partners included The USA & Britain (Tier 1), Italy and the Netherlands (Tier 2), and Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Turkey (Tier 3), with Singapore and Israel as “Security Cooperation Partners,” and Japan as the 1st export customer.
The big question for Lockheed Martin is whether, and when, these partner countries will begin placing purchase orders. This updated article has expanded to feature more detail regarding the F-35 program, including contracts, sub-contracts, and notable events and reports…
Canada (Tier 3)
In July 2010, Canada committed to buy 65 F-35As as its future fighter force for up to C$ 7 billion [flyaway cost only, government put it at $6 billion in 2011], without a competition. That decision has been beset by controversy ever since, and the Conservative Party government claims that they aren’t committed to buy the F-35A yet. On the other hand, they haven’t made any substantive concessions, or meaningful changes to their plans, aside from promising that if F-35 costs continue to rise, Canada will just buy fewer planes within its budget.
Canada will probably sign a contract by 2015, which would make it too expensive for any successor governments to cancel the program. If the Conservative Party government doesn’t sign a contract before the next election, they had better win again. Otherwise, the conduct of this acquisition program has so antagonized the opposition Liberal and NDP parties that the F-35 buy will be a priority target for cancellation.
Read full coverage over at “Canada Preparing to Replace its CF-18 Hornets.”..
A recent development, note “Comment”:
Fighter Update: F-35B, Brazil
Mark Collins is a prolific Ottawa blogger
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