Statement made on 05 April 2012 by Senator Frank Mahovlich (retired)
Hon. Francis William Mahovlich:
Honourable senators, my question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Auditor General Michael Ferguson stated that the government misled the people by using a $15-billion price tag for the purchase of 65 F-35s. Documents, he noted, showed a total price tag of $25 billion over a 20-year period for defence personnel salaries and operating costs. Yet nothing is mentioned here about maintenance.
A dear friend of mine retired from politics and from the hockey world. His name was Leonard Red Kelly. He went into business in aerospace and airplane maintenance. I often went over to have lunch with him. He explained to me that if you flew a plane, every part in that plane had so many hours. If it flew one hour, then certain parts would have to be replaced. This was a business unto itself, so you had to replace all these parts.
I figured out that for a plane worth at least $200 million or $300 million, the maintenance for an F-35 — that is, for 65 of those planes — would be at least $2 billion to $3 billion a year.
In 20 years, it would be close to $27 billion.
Could the leader please come up with the price tag for the maintenance of these F-35s in the next 20 years?
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