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Dec 11

1) Media monitoring: tracking the 3Ds (and this blog)?


in July 2011, the department started looking for a contractor to monitor social media like blogs, online polls and even Twitter.

The terms of the contract are not available, but subsequent months saw reports starting to be produced on mentions of the F-35 by these new media.

For example, a report from Sept. 20, 2011 says that over the preceding weeks, 26 blog posts were published about the F-35, with 67 per cent negative in tone and the remainder neutral.

Another from Oct. 17, 2011 found that there had been 2,168 blog mentions of the F-35 in Canadian social media, 9,701 news mentions, 10,552 tweets and 15,490 forum postings since July 1, 2010.

Of the 2,168 blog posts, 18 per cent were positive, 36 per cent were neutral and 46 per cent were negative.

The reports also contain some specific blog posts about the F-35, with usernames and comments clearly identified…

There’s a bit of recycling in the above story.

2) Industrial benefits:

F-35’s benefits to Canadian industry questioned

When the Harper government announced its intention to buy the Lockheed Martin-built F-35 Lightning II in 2010, government ministers trumpeted the benefits to Canadian aerospace companies [see also: “Why the Canadian F-35 acquisition was rushed in 2010“].

The air force’s research, largely based on information from the U.S. manufacturer, suggested Canadian industry would be in line for as much as $12 billion US in manufacturing or spare parts contracts over the lifetime of the project.

Industry Canada quietly lowered those expectations last spring, to $9.85 billion US, following a blistering report from the auditor general on how the program has been managed.

Government sources say a benefits analysis coming this week as part of a Public Works agency report to Parliament suggests Canadian companies will struggle to reach the $9 billion US mark, thanks to stiff competition from other nations whose participation in the F-35’s development has given them preferential access to the U.S. manufacturer’s supply chain…

The F-35 project is unlike traditional military procurements, in which the winning contractor is required to spend the equivalent of the contract value in Canada, either directly through subsidiaries, or by placing work elsewhere in the economy.

The system established for the F-35 sees countries that participated in the development given the chance to bid on supply and sustainment contracts without any guarantee, thereby bypassing the regular system.

To date, 70 Canadian companies have secured more than $435 million US in contracts on the development and initial production of the fighter [Industry Canada website here]…

3) Other fighters’ costs: one does not know what is included in the costing (compared to what our government includes–in March 2011 DND put the all-in acquisition cost of 65 F-35s at $9 billion) but the comparative figures should indicate roughly the price differences:

Brazil Leaning Towards F-18 Super Hornet In Aircraft Competition

The Brazilian air force is said to be leaning towards the American F-18 Super Hornet aircraft in the selection of 36 fighter jets, according to media reports.

A weekly magazine, Istoe, has published a document attributing to the commission in charge of analyzing the three aircraft (the Dassault Rafale and the Swedish Gripen), which concludes that the Boeing F-18 is best suited to air force requirements and notes several of its advantages in terms of price and benefits.

The document states that the least costly of the three jets being tendered are the Gripen of the Swedish firm Saab, the entire fleet being offered for $4.3 billion.

The Boeing F-18 jets would cost Brazil about $5.4 billion for 36 aircraft whereas the French Rafale would cost a lot more at $8.2 billion.

According to the published document, Boeing has agreed to the technology transfer required by the Brazilian government to close the deal and has also offered to open a center for high technology in Brazil if it gets the contract.

Meanwhile, due to heavy budget cuts the government has suspended the tender process with defense officials saying that the final decision will be taken early next year.

Mark Collins is a prolific Ottawa blogger

4 Responses to “Mark Collins - DND F-35 Media Monitoring, Industrial Benefits, Other Fighters’ Costs”

  1. MarkOttawa Says:

    More on the Brazilians from DID:

    “Brazil’s F-X2 Fighter Competition”
    http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/brazil-embarking-upon-f-x2-fighter-program-04179/

    Mark Collins

  2. MarkOttawa Says:

    An informed observer notes:

    “Commentators are wondering if Lockheed Martin will drop Canadian suppliers if Canada does not buy the F-35. Of course the Canadian contracts depend on a Canadian purchase. Why wouldn’t they? I do not know the details but reality is reality. As far as Lockheed Martin being locked into a single source for anything, again, real is real. They are at least second sourced, and I would imagine have enough parts from Canada in hand to keep the production lines going while they spooled up a perfectly good supplier in a more acquiescent purchaser country. Again, although I do not know, I would bet Lockheed Martin owns every bit of intellectual property associated with the work. No supplier in the world is going to hold them hostage. After all, even the government of Canada retains the IP when it pays for research and development.”

    Mark Collins

  3. MarkOttawa Says:

    Back to Brazil:

    ‘Brazil is to take “some time” to decide on whether it will choose French Rafale fighter jets to modernize its air force, President Dilma Rousseff said Dec. 11 during a visit to Paris.

    “We have pushed back the choice … and this will take some time depending on how long it takes the Brazilian economy to recover,” she said at a joint press conference with French counterpart Francois Hollande.

    Brazil is looking to buy 36 multi-purpose jets to modernize its air force — a multi-billion dollar deal — and the issue has been at the center of bilateral talks in recent years…’
    Brazil is to take “some time” to decide on whether it will choose French Rafale fighter jets to modernize its air force, President Dilma Rousseff said Dec. 11 during a visit to Paris.

    The Rafale fighter, built by French firm Dassault Aviation, is up against U.S. aviation giant Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet and Swedish manufacturer Saab’s Gripen for a contract valued at between $4 billion and $7 billion.

    In addition to technology transfer, Brazil, the world’s sixth-largest economy, wants some of the jet fighters to be assembled in the country, which according to some analysts might favor the Rafale…’
    http://www.defensenews.com/article/20121211/DEFREG02/312110006

    Mark Collins

  4. MarkOttawa Says:

    A nice bit at MILNEWS.ca’s “What’s Canada Buying?”, with further links:

    “…
    F-35 Tug o’ War (2) If ceasefire.ca’s so upset about government folks attending public news conferences or events, then maybe they shouldn’t be holding them publicly? One shouldn’t crave the spotlight if one becomes upset about people, including government people, taking an interest, right? Especially if a news conference is being held in a government building…”
    http://milnewsca.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/wcb-121715utc-dec-1/

    Mark Collins

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