A report commissioned by the Harper government concludes that the F-35, stacked up against the competition, is no clear winner except in one area, open state-versus-state warfare, which it concludes is "highly unlikely."
Dassault has welcomed the report, saying that the only way for Canada to now move forward is with a "full, open and transparent competition." Yes, what would be better than a genuine fly-off with the contenders put through their paces in a grueling competition. That would make Canada the first country to evaluate the F-35 on a "fly before you buy" basis.
Expect Lockheed to do everything in its power to derail any possibility of an open and transparent competition. Not only might that imperil Lockheed's current lock on the Harper government but it could also reveal to other wary markets just what they're really getting for their defence dollar. The F-35 is already at a cost disadvantage. A flying competition could threaten its "wunderplane" publicity.