Canada to spend more than $1 billion on Raytheon missiles and equipment for CF-18 fighter jets

Published by Brent Patterson on

On June 17, Ottawa Citizen journalist David Pugliese reported: “The U.S. government has cleared the way for Canada to buy more than $1 billion worth of new missiles and related equipment for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s CF-18 fighter jet fleet.”

“The U.S. State Department approved the proposed sale to Canada for the 50 Sidewinder AIM-9X Block II Tactical missiles, radars and other various equipment for an estimated cost of $862.3 million U.S. ($1.1 billion Canadian). …Besides the 50 Sidewinder missiles, the deal will include training missiles, guidance systems, 38 specialized radar units, 20 Joint Standoff Weapons as well as support equipment.”

The article notes: “The companies involved in the sale are U.S. firms, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Boeing and Collins Aerospace.”

Specifically, the AIM-9X Sidewinder Missile is manufactured by Raytheon. The missile itself carries a 20-pound (9-kg) WDU-17/B annular blast fragmentation warhead. The explosive force of the missile sends nearly 200 titanium fragmentation rods outward in all directions in an annular (ring-shaped) pattern.

Military spending continues despite pandemic debt

Last week, the Canadian Press reported that Defence Department deputy minister Jody Thomas says she has received no indication from the federal government that it intends to cut military spending despite the soaring federal deficit.

This despite the warning from the Parliamentary Budget Officer that it is “not unthinkable” the deficit could reach $1 trillion due to the pandemic.

Spending on fighter jets

Last month, the Canadian Press also reported: “The federal government has made another multimillion-dollar investment into the development of the [Lockheed Martin] F-35 stealth fighter jet, even as it weighs a new extension to the $19-billion competition to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s [that it recently spent $3.8 billion on].”

The article adds that this US$70.1 million payment brings Canada’s total investment in the F-35 to US$541.3 million ($762.16 million Canadian) since 1997. .

The Canadian government also continues with its plan to purchase of 88 fighter jets that would cost $19 billion plus up to $300 million a year to service. The deadline for the three transnational corporations bidding on the jet fighter contract is July 31, 2020. The government will announce its decision in 2022.

Defund the military?

Overall, the Canadian government has previously committed to increase spending on the military from $18.9 billion in 2016-17 to $32.7 billion in 2026-27, with total spending over a 20-year period of $553 billion on a cash basis.

Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, has commented: “Wars and the military render impossible the aspirations contained in the Green New Deal. And slashing the out-of-control military budget is crucial to provide the billions of dollars we need to create a sustainable and egalitarian economy.”

As the federal deficit soars, and as dollars continue to be needed for social and income support as well as for a just and green recovery, a reassessment of this military spending – including the $1 billion on missiles – should be questioned.

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