A former F-35 test pilot believes Canada is likely to benefit from his decision not to buy this stealth fighter more than 10 years ago.
Retired Lieutenant-Colonel Billie Flynn has spent more than 17 years flying F-35s as a test pilot after a 23-year career in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).
He believes Ottawa avoided many of the break-in problems inherent in any new aircraft that struck the F-35 in its early years of flight. According to him, Canada is not only in a better position now to receive better planes, but also benefits from a better price than was shown when the previous Conservative government wanted to buy.
On the other hand, Mr. Flynn criticizes the federal Liberal government for not fully trusting this stealth fighter today.
The government announced last month that it would enter into negotiations with Lockheed Martin to buy 88 F-35 aircraft. But Ottawa has left the door open on Gripen aircraft, from Swedish competitor Saab, if talks with the American manufacturer are in a stalemate.
Mr. Flynn believes the refusal to be fully assigned to the F-35 now represents further delay in this file. He said the RCAF needs to know which fighter it will eventually acquire before proceeding with new training and making some related acquisitions, such as infrastructure and air-to-air refueling aircraft.