Lt. Col. Billie Flynn (retired), a former RCAF test pilot and a test and demo F-35 pilot for Lockheed Martin until 2020 says the airplane is now a good buy for Canada. “The F-35 is the most watched, observed and scrutinized procurement in history,” Flynn told the National Post. “It has turned out to be — albeit later than anyone ever hoped for — as survivable, as effective and as lethal as promised.” Earlier this month, the RCAF announced it would enter negotiations with Lockheed Martin for 88 F-35s, 13 years after signing on to a multi-national program to build a joint strike fighter.
The F-35 has had an expensive and challenging development but Flynn said most of the early issues have been solved. “Ten years ago, Canada … would have been there for the growing pains that the United States Air Force went through,” Flynn said. “Those are all gone now. There are benefits to buying into a mature fleet.”