US$2.3 million worth of Canadian components in every Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jet

Published by Brent Patterson on

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US Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Schmidt, program executive officer for the F-35 fighter jet, says Israel’s F-35s have performed “absolutely outstanding” over Gaza.

Significantly, the Associated Press now reports: “Israel’s air and ground assault has killed more than 18,600 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s health officials.”

This includes more than 7,000 children.

The Associated Press has also reported: “Human rights lawyers went to court in the Netherlands on Monday [December 4] to call for a halt to the export of fighter jet parts to Israel that could be used in attacks on Gaza. The organizations [including Amnesty International] allege that delivery of parts for F-35 jets makes the Netherlands complicit in possible war crimes being committed by Israel in its war with Hamas.”

Should this be a concern for Canadian companies?

The Globe and Mail reports: “Since the late 1990s, at least 110 Canadian-based suppliers have been awarded contracts valued in excess of $38 billion for the F-35 program, Project Ploughshares said [in its new report Fanning the Flames: The grave risk of Canada’s arms exports to Israel]. It pointed to a 2018 study commissioned by Lockheed Martin that said there are US$2.3-million worth of Canadian components in every F-35 jet.”

That article adds: “All across Canada, there are other factories and companies that are part of the F-35 supply chain, building elements of the aircraft that have so far been sold to other countries.”

More specifically, a Nova Scotia-based company reportedly supplies inserts for the weapons bay doors.

In April 2022, the CBC reported: “More than 100 years after shipyard workers in Lunenburg, N.S., shaped wood and metal to build the Bluenose schooner, the tradition of local, hand-built excellence lives on. But now, instead of fishing boats, it’s fighter jets.”

That article further notes that the Toulouse, France-based Stelia Aerospace facility in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia has been contracted to, for example, build shims to help open and close the weapons bay doors of F-35s sold to other countries.

What comes out of those weapons bay doors?

The Globe and Mail article notes that the Israeli F-35s have reportedly been equipped with 907-kilogram GBU-31 JDAM bombs. Guided Bomb Units (GBU) 31/32 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) were developed by Boeing for the US Air Force and US Navy.

The Jabalia refugee camp was hit by an Israeli airstrike on October 31, killing at least 80 people and injuring many more.

The Guardian has reported: “A visual analysis by the Guardian has identified at least five craters in the densely populated refugee camp, which weapons experts said were left by the use of multiple JDAMs – joint direct attack munitions – in the airstrike.”

A verdict in the court challenge in the Netherlands is expected around December 18.

Further reading: Fanning the Flames: The grave risk of Canada’s arms exports to Israel (December 14, 2023; Kelsey Gallagher, Project Ploughshares).

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