There are options for Canada's air defence even if some do not want to admit it.
If it was possible to ignore the need for a two engine fighter for the requirement, a faulty and unproven F-35 is not the only game.
The exercise of replacing the CF-18 does not have to cost an arm and a leg.
So the question is, after the F-35 program falls on its face, will Canada consider the Gripen?
It is a fair question. The origins of the aircraft are from a cold northern place. The design has enough proof to show they have not been falling out of the sky over the wilderness. It is deployable, good with short runways or suitable roads, and since the F-35 was never able to stand up to high-end extreme threats, it has no other real show-stopping legacy-threat weakness.
Below are some numbers that I have inflated simply because it is the government that will be attempting to procure and sustain the aircraft. I have again assumed that one can put 300 flight hours on the aircraft per year.
Unfortunately, Canada has a problem in that area: pilots. I am still hoping that Canada can someday have twice as many pilots as fighter aircraft. This is needed as a minimum for sustained operations. Unfortunately the DND is having a difficult time with pilot numbers. And, each pilot they have may see about 180-some hours per year.
So my cost per flying hour on the Gripen (or anything else) may be high because there aren't enough pilots to sustain optimum readiness. Add to that, I would prefer 72 Gripens, not 65, but for this exercise, I will go with 65.
Finally, for this requirement, I don't really care if it is the basic Gripen or the NG. Either will do.
Gripen cost per flight hour- $10,000 (double the claims of the maker)
Gripen cost per flight hour for
65 aircraft for 30 years (300 hours
per airframe per year):
Acquisition cost for each Gripen $100M
Total Acquistion cost, 65 Gripens:
Total appoximate acuisition and operating cost,
65 Gripens for 30 years: