Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

January 26, 2012 16:51 ET

Minister Fantino Comments on United States Continued Commitment to the F-35

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 26, 2012) - The Honourable Julian Fantino, Canada's Associate Minister of National Defence, today made the following statement following United States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's announcement to slow procurement of the United States' order of F-35 Lightning II in line with its plans to reduce government spending. This announcement does not affect the original number of aircraft being purchased by the United States.

"Today's announcement by the United States confirms their commitment to the F-35 project which will meet the fighter aircraft requirements of more than ten partner nations for the 21st century.

"Canada welcomes the United States' ongoing commitment to the multinational Joint Strike Fighter Program. This commitment by the United States is consistent with my discussions with Secretary Panetta at the Halifax International Security Forum last fall.

"This prudent measure by the United States is one that fully respects the strong partnership our allies have formed throughout our participation in this development program.

"We are pleased that less than eight percent of the United States' order will be re-profiled to a later production date, and that all partners continue to exercise responsible management of their priorities amid challenging global economic realities.

"Canada remains committed to the Joint Strike Fighter program and development of the new state-of-the-art aircraft that our brave men and women agree will give them the best probability of mission success well into the 21st century. We continue to monitor the progress of the multinational Joint Strike Fighter Program closely and exercise responsible stewardship of taxpayers' hard earned dollars.

"That is why I have instructed officials to review the implications of the United States' announcement on Canadian Forces' readiness so that they may be incorporated into preparations for the replacement of our aging CF-18 fleet.

"Information we have received indicates that the impact on Canada's procurement plans is minimal at this stage. As has been the case up to the present, we will continue to monitor developments closely.

"Our decision to participate in the multinational development of new state-of-the art aircraft for Canada and our allies is resulting in additional opportunities for Canadian workers that otherwise would not have existed. Canadian workers' world-class expertise is having a direct impact on supporting our country's long tradition of contributing to international stability alongside our allies."

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