Experts should choose new jets, not the public

Dear editor,
As a community with a military base, there is probably greater than average interest in the Comox Valley on the subject of aircraft to replace the aging CF-18s.

Dear editor,As a community with a military base, there is probably greater than average interest in the Comox Valley on the subject of aircraft to replace the aging CF-18s.The cost of buying and servicing 65 CF-35s for the next 30 years has been recently projected by some to be in the order of $30 billion. For curiosity, I calculated how that amount compares with total federal spending over that same 30 years.Assuming a frugal inflation rate of only two per cent, total federal spending would amount to $10,595 billion. The gross CF-18 replacement program would thus be 0.28 per cent of federal spending. In reality, some kind of aircraft would likely be purchased, so if we look at this decision, the incremental amount would be considerably less. It should also be noted that many hundreds of Canadians are already employed manufacturing parts for customers worldwide for F-35s, and the associated sales value further offsets the calculated cost of ownership of our share.These jobs are not here, but in places like Montreal, and contribute much to Canada, its economy and its technical capability.The specific choice of aircraft is based on a military recommendation rather than a government recommendation, to serve the needs, not of today, but of the hypothetical Canadian and world situations 10 or more years from now. In our volatile, rapidly changing world, public opinion is probably an unreliable source to guess what those needs might be. I also know that the technical choice should not be based on what we remember from Top Gun.David A. Kelly,Courtenay

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