Experts say F-35 start up costs will be high due to infrastructure, network upgrades

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U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters from the 58th Fighter Squadron, 33rd Fighter Wing, Eglin AFB, Fla. perform an aerial refueling mission with a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 336th Air Refueling Squadron from March ARB, Calif., May 14, 2013 off the coast of Northwest Florida. The 33rd Fighter Wing is a joint graduate flying and maintenance training wing that trains Air Force, Marine, Navy and international partner operators and maintainers of the F-35 Lightning II. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Donald R. Allen/Released)

The CANADIAN PRESS

Experts say they are not surprised that Canada intends to spend billions on an initial set of F-35s given the large start up costs associated with buying a new fighter jet.

The Canadian Press reported last week that the Department of National Defence received authorization to spend $7 billion on 16 F-35s and associated gear.

That works out to about $450 million per plane, which is about four times more than expected and has left some wondering whether Canada is getting a good deal.

But the total also includes weapons and spare parts, new facilities to house and maintain the fighter jets and upgrades to the military’s computer network.

Experts say those infrastructure and network upgrades are necessary given the state of the Air Force’s current facilities and the advanced nature of the F-35 compared to the CF-18s.

They also say it will be expensive and will likely account for most of the initial costs.

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