“The F-35 is an aircraft that is designed to drop bombs and kill people” – Retired Canadian air force colonel Paul Maillet
Paul Maillet is a retired Royal Canadian Air Force Colonel and a former manager of Canada’s fleet of CF-18 fighter jets.
In this recent webinar (starting at 8:32), Maillet highlights:
“The F-35 is not a peacekeeping aircraft. It is an aircraft that is designed to drop bombs and kill people. If all we wanted to do was control our airspace, you know, somebody shows up in the airspace and be able to go out there and say hello, which is what we did in NORAD a lot and monitor that, the F-35 is not suitable for that. There are very inexpensive ways that we can do that, similar to the way Coast Guards patrol the oceans.”
In April 2022, just after Defence Minister Anita Anand announced that negotiations would begin with Lockheed Martin on the purchase of the F-35, Maillet also wrote Anand to say:
“As a former air force colonel and former CF18 engineering fleet manager, I am writing to express my deep disappointment for the recent F35 announcement to select the F35 as the next fighter for the Air Force.
I am sure you understand that this aircraft has only one purpose and that is to kill or destroy infrastructure. It is, or will be, a nuclear weapon capable, air-to-air and air- to-ground attack aircraft optimized to war fighting. This contributes solely to war.
Canadian defence requirements for an aircraft capable of policing Canadian airspace and national sovereignty can be easily met by a far less expensive and less complex aircraft.
The F35 requires a very complex and unaffordable military battle management infrastructure reaching into space, to realize its capabilities, and we will be wholly dependent on US military infrastructure for this. We will be just another squadron or two of the US Air Force and as such dependent on its foreign policy and military predispositions to conflict responses.
The F35 has massively excessive capabilities to our needs. It is like buying a high end Ferrari just to go for groceries.”
And just after Anand announced the decision to purchase the F-35 last month, Maillet wrote her again and stated:
“What you have bought is the most expensive squadron of the USAF in history. It can only be effective as part of a US war.
This aircraft is designed only to kill people and destroy infrastructure. What did we learn from our participation in Libya and Iraq? We have killed civilians, which although we claimed was unintentional, but it was 100% foreseeable.”
Maillet has also highlighted that major military contracts do get cancelled.
He says: “It may well be that the deal may die or that the deal is shut down. We have shut down massive programs before. It is not impossible that this deal may suffer some hiccups or be extended way out.”
He cites the example of EH101 helicopter. Prime Minister Jean Chrétien labelled the high performance helicopter a “Cadillac” and cancelled the $3.5 billion contract on taking office in 1993, incurring $478-million in penalties.
With respect to this, our understanding is:
-Canada signed a contract in January 2023 with the U.S. Air Force/Lockheed Martin for the purchase of 88 F-35s
-the Parliamentary Budget Officer has requested to receive by February 13 “a copy of the agreement signed with the U.S. government to provide the F-35”
-the first four F-35s are expected to be delivered to the Royal Canadian Air Force in 2026, the next six in 2027, another six in 2028, the first Canadian F-35 squadrons operational in 2029, and all 88 F-35s in place by 2032.
Canada’s air force in 2035 will “look completely different”
On February 13, the Canadian Press reported:
“A model F-35 sits in a place of prominence on the corner of Lt.-Gen. Eric Kenny’s desk. The miniature grey aircraft is propped in the air by a plastic stand as if it is flying, and Royal Canadian Air Force markings are visible on its wings.
“It’s an exciting time,” [Kenny, who is Canada’s air force commander,] said in an interview. “The F-35 is going to not only bring us into being a fifth-generation Air Force, it’s really going to change how the Department of Defence looks at security and data and information, and what we do with that data.”
Between plans to buy armed drones, launch satellites and upgrade North America’s early warning system, the F-35 is just one of several high-tech additions that Kenny suggests will firmly entrench the Air Force in the 21st century over the next decade.
“The Air Force of 2035 is going to look completely different than the Air Force in 2023,” he said. “The amount of projects that are going through right now is similar to what we saw in the late ’70s and early ’80s.””
We continue to follow Canada’s purchase of F-35 warplanes with concern.
The No Fighter Jets Coalition on Parliament Hill on January 7, two days before Defence Minister Anand announced her decision to buy F-35 warplanes.