It seems that Canada has had it enough with F-35s cost increases, performance shortfalls and defense decisions that have nothing to do with actual defense.
After Chief of Defence Staff Thomas Lawson was called before the comittee, Canada has cancelled its F-35 purchase. Decision is especially important since Canada is one of members of consortium producing the F-35 strike aircraft. As such, its decision could make other members cancel or reduce their own orders of stealthy strike aircraft, starting a reduction avalance and burying F-35 programme.
Actual Canadian cost estimates for F-35s life cycle are 30 billion USD for 30 years. Evaluation which led to the selection of F-35 in the first place was a “paper evaluation”, made by comparing performance predictions – ones which F-35 is consistently failling to achieve, often by very large margins.
F-35s “ace card”, stealth, is overrated. F-35 itself is only LO against X-band radars; HF and VHF radars, as used by United States, Australia, China and Russia at least, can easily detect it over large distances. Even L-band radars (used on Russian PAK FA stealth killer) can detect it at long range. Non-LO aircraft, making no effort to hide, can rely on jammers for defense, which can be upgraded as threats evolve – stealth F-35, meanwhile, is furever stuck with its current RCS, which is dictated by airframe shaping and stealth coating.
F-35 can be detected at ranges of over hundred kilometers by fighters using QWIP IRST, even while subsonic, while its lack of maneuverability compared to Eurocanards, as well as threat aircraft, renders it unsurvivable against IRST-equipped fighters and SAM systems equipped with aforementioned stealth-detecting radars. Its huge IR signature puts it at risk against both airborne and ground IR detection systems, as well as making evasion of IR missiles far more difficult. Range performance is also nothing extraordinary, as its combat radius is lower than most rivals, including all Eurocanards, and Flanker variants.
It is incapable of generating enough sorties per day for its combat presence to actually matter against stronger opponents (as in, stronger than BiH), and many safety measures have been removed so as to reduce the weight increases. As such, it can be destroyed by a sniper rifle shot, and is very unsurvivable (and completely useless) in CAS role, as well as in any other role not involving destruction of large static targets. Its single engine also puts it at risk during ground attack operations.
As I have checked it better, it seems that Canada cancelling F-35 purchase is not certain. However, it did come under review, and it seems that Italy may cancel, or at least reduce, their own F-35 order.