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JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY HARRY SWAIN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

“The parallels to the F-35 are eerie…”

I am not sure that Mr. Swain has told the whole story here.

I don’t agree with him that both planes were obsolete the day they first flew.

The F-35, if it could do what it was supposed to do, would not be obsolete, but it cannot perform as intended: it represents a set of blunders.

The Arrow certainly was not obsolete in its day.

The project was stopped and existing planes were chopped up without any meaningful explanation by Diefenbaker owing to American Defense Department pressure.

The Americans did not welcome Canada’s entry into the world of high-performance military aircraft – it is an area were competition is not welcome with all the internal subsidies going to the Pentagon – and it very much made its feelings known secretly and strongly, as it always does in such matters.

In the case of the F-35, Harper’s government bought the (unproved) thing because of Pentagon pressure.

All of America’s allies have had significant pressures to buy some of these hi-tech lemons: the reason is to subsidize the immense costs of correcting its design errors.

The only common threads are Pentagon pressure and governments of Canada giving in – in the first case to stop and in the second place to buy.

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