In 2001, the United States government selected Lockheed Martin (over Boeing) to lead in the development of the F-35, a fifth-generation fighter aircraft for use by the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marines. Along with several other U.S. allies, Canada jumped at the opportunity to become an official partner in this venture—a privilege it won by contributing funds toward the development of the new aircraft early on. In 2010, the Harper government vowed to buy sixty-five F-35s, drawing attention to the fact that much of the Canadian aerospace industry was, and continues to be, involved in what is often described as “the arms deal of the century”.
Is the F-35 right for Canada? This question is explored in a new special issue of the Canadian Foreign Policy Journal (CFPJ), which is published by the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA) at Carleton University. The collection (available online, with hard copy to follow very soon) provides a comprehensive analysis of the debate, highlighting the options at hand and the main issues of concern for Canada.
Nowadays every academic blog appears to have a ‘shameless self-promotion’ tag, which signals a moment when the bloggers get to talk about their most recent publications. This blogpost, arguably, is only semi-shameless, since the publication in question is a collection of articles written by others; I was merely the guest editor. Indeed, any questions about the special issue could be directed either to me or to the CFPJ editorial team at NPSIA: David Carment (Editor) and Kevin Arthur (Managing Editor). Also note that this publication was financially supported by the Centre for International and Defence Policy at Queen’s University, the Centre for Security and Defence Studies at Carleton University and by our very own CIPS here at the University of Ottawa.
Those interested in further reflections on the F-35 program in Canada are advised to follow (in addition to this blog): Mark Collins at the 3Ds Blog of the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute, Colin Horgan’s articles at iPolitics.ca, Tony Prudori’s MILNEWS.ca Blog, and David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at The Ottawa Citizen.
And now, a preview of the special issue:
CFPJ Special Issue Vol. 13, No. 3: “The F-35: Right for Canada?”
Table of Contents
- Paul T. Mitchell (Canadian Forces College), “Lightning in a bottle: The F-35 and the bankruptcy of modern warfare” (policy commentary)
- Srdjan Vucetic (University of Ottawa), “Canada and the F-35: What’s at stake?” (guest editor’s introduction)
- James Fergusson (University of Manitoba), “The right debate: Airpower, the future of war, Canadian strategic interests, and the JSF decision”
- Michael Byers (University of British Columbia) and Stewart Webb (Salt Spring Forum), “Canada’s F-35 purchase is a costly mistake”
- Rob Huebert (University of Calgary), “The future of Canadian airpower and the F-35”
- Anton Bezglasnyy (University of British Columbia) and Douglas Alan Ross (Simon Fraser University), “Strategically superfluous, unacceptably overpriced: The case against Canada’s F-35A Lightning II acquisition”
- Justin Massie (University of Ottawa), “Bandwagoning for status: Canada’s need of the F-35”
- Aaron Plamondon (Mount Royal University), “Amnesia in acquisition: The parallels of the F-35 procurement and the Sea King replacement projects”
Access the full text of these articles (paywall)