OTTAWA – Canada is forced to spread most of the F-35 combat aircraft development costs, although it does not decide if it will actually buy anyone.
Canada is one of the nine partner countries in the F-35 project, all of which are needed to cover part of the cost of developing a stellar fighter to stay on the table.
Each country pays based on the number of F-35s it expects to buy, and the Canadian population is over half a billion dollars over the last 20 years, including $ 54 million last year.
But that amount was based on Stefan Harper's government plan to buy 65 new fighter planes to replace the old Canadian CF-18, which the Trudo government officially increased to 88.
Although Canada did not advocate that those 88 planes would be F-35, defense officials say the change means they will have to pay more to remain a partner, including about $ 72 million this year.
The government said it plans to keep Canada in the F-35's development efforts until a CF-18 replacement is selected, which will not take another two or three years.