Associate Defence Minister Julian Fantino,
who is in charge of procurement,
gave a similar message to the House of Commons defence committee
and went further by saying that Ottawa reserves the right to bail on the multibillion-dollar program.
Senior officials say the Auditor-General’s harsh review is behind the Harper government’s change in posture over the last few weeks,
where a hard-line message of commitment
has softened into skepticism about the international program,
which is billions of dollars off target and years behind schedule.
The Conservative government’s plan has been to buy 65 of the radar-evading jets.
Cameron Government Plans U-turn On Aircraft Carriers As Catapult Costs Spiral
Philip Hammond, the defence secretary,
has recommended a U-turn on one of the most controversial proposals of the cost-cutting armed forces reforms,
the Guardian has learned.
David Cameron will decide this week whether to agree to an embarrassing about-face
involving the Royal Navy’s over-budget aircraft carriers,
which are under construction.
[ CG Impression ]
In the strategic defence and security review (SDSR),
the prime minister insisted the carriers would have to be converted to include “cats and traps”
to allow a version of the new Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) to be catapulted from the decks and caught by arrestor wires on landing.
But the Guardian has been told the cost of the modification has spiralled out of control,
to between £1.9 and £2bn.