U.S. Defence Expert Says Government’s and PBO’s F-35 Cost Estimates Are Too Low

Media Release
For Immediate Release
5 April 2011

(Ottawa, ON) The cost of the F-35 stealth fighters will be much higher than the government’s figures, and will even exceed the cost announced last month by the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO), according to a U.S. defence expert and former U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) official.

Winslow T. Wheeler is Director of the Straus Military Reform Project of the Center for Defense Information in Washington, D.C. Wheeler has over 30 years of experience in national security issues, serving for both the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and members of the United States Senate.

Wheeler agrees with the PBO that the government’s estimate of about $75 million per plane is not supported by recent data. But even the PBO’s estimate of $128 million per plane is “very optimistic” according to Wheeler. “Canadians should expect to pay a lot more than that,” he said.

Wheeler describes the F-35 as an aircraft designed to cater to too many customers, each with different needs. “The F-35 does many things, but does them poorly, and at a greater cost than other aircraft,” said Wheeler.

“There is lots of time, and lots of alternative aircraft for Canada to consider,” he added. Other countries such as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, and Israel are now having second thoughts about the F-35.

Wheeler’s visit to Ottawa is sponsored by the Rideau Institute and Physicians for Global Survival.

The Rideau Institute is an independent research, advocacy and consulting group specializing in defence policy, based in Ottawa. Physicians for Global Survival is a voluntary non-profit physicians’ organization dedicated to international cooperation and the prevention of nuclear war.

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Steven Staples, President of the Rideau Institute. t. 613 565-9449
c. 613 290-2695 e. sstaples@rideauinstitute.ca

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