Over the weekend the F-35 debate was brought into the 2015 Canadian election. Justin Trudeau said that the Liberal Party would scrap the plan to purchase the JSF F-35; whose budget continues to go overboard, and continues to prove not to be the aircraft it claims. The NDP have said they would reopen the bidding process, and if the F-35 wins that process, than it is fair game.
Prime Minister Stephen Haper shot back at the Liberals by saying Canada needs the F-35 to defeat ISIS, and replace the aging CF-18 Hornets that are currently being used against ISIS. (Lets rewind about a year) What happened to the Government shelving the replacement of the CF-18s until a later date, and committing to spend the hundreds of millions to upgrade them to fly until at least 2025? Obviously Harper is back peddling yet again...and his statement that the F-35s are needed to defeat ISIS is ridiculous.
Why is it ridiculous? There are NO F-35s currently deployed by any coalition member against ISIS. The F-22's have only just deployed on their first combat support roles in both Eastern Europe and Iraq/Syria. So how can one claim the F-35s are needed to defeat ISIS? Also, if the life extension of the CF-18s will allow them to fly until well past 2025, will we still be fighting ISIS in 10 years? If so, maybe that is the bigger problem.
If the Americans (or any other ally who has already agreed to purchase the JSF) were using the F-35s against ISIS with a higher success rate than our CF-18s then I could potentially agree - but there are none deployed.
For a list of coalition aircraft currently involved against ISIS, please see my previous post "Continue to Support Air Task Force Iraq"