Consider this collection of bizarre thinking:
Defence Minister Peter MacKay last month told the House of Commons defence committee that the air force expected to spend $250 million a year — or about $5 billion over 20 years — on the maintenance deal. That's lower than some of the federal government's initial projections, and is what the air force currently spends to keep the existing fleet of CF-18s in the air.
Officials within the department say they expect to achieve savings because the stealth fighters' support arrangement will see all countries pool spare parts.
"We hope it is more efficient because you can leverage the global supply chain of 3,000 fighters in nine countries," said the official.
"Instead of (us) having to buy 10 sets of extra sets of spare landing gear, (we) can have one set and the global pool has nine and (we) get when (we) need it, but if (we) never need it (we) don't actually have to buy it."
What 3000 fighters?
What nine countries?
Unfortunately, the F-35 is so immature that few know what parts on it will break and at what intervals.
Cost per hour for the F-35 is unlikely to be that of a classic Hornet. They are around $18,000 per flying hour give or take. The F-35 (according to U.S. Navy figures and others) is about $30,000 per flying hour. Probably even more.
At $30,000 per flying hour, MacKay's figures give us about 128 hours per F-35 per year. This is unrealistic. A pilot probably needs 180 flying hours per year as a minimum. Simulators can only do so much. The F-35 (if its capability is to be believed) will be flying longer missions than a Hornet. So add some more there.
Then, all that, only gets you one pilot per jet.
Why are higher pilot numbers to airframes needed? Because of fatigue of sustained flying ops in wartime. Even to sustain real-world operations for a few days requires 2 pilots per jet. 3 per jet for a long war would be better.
Canada has trouble meeting its one pilot per jet numbers. So, maybe, if one wants to park those gold-plated and defective F-35s alot, 128 hours per jet might happen. This cascades. Because with such an overly expensive capability, even if you have a proper number of pilots, the taxpayer can't afford to train two pilots per jet let alone one.
Yes it should be written. 2 pilots per each jet. 2 pilots x 180 hours per year = 360 hours per jet per year.
Oh, and $65M, $70M or $75M to procure each jet has zero hope of ever happening.
The DND really goofed the CF-18 replacement.
All the sudden, anything else for a CF-18 replacement is starting to look good.