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F-35's single engine too dangerous for Canadian military, report says

06/09/2014 10:34 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 01:07 EDT
The federal government is being urged to reconsider its expected decision to buy a fleet of F-35 fighters. This time the argument isn’t about cost or procurement problems, however. It's about what's inside the plane. 

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released a report by Michael Byers this morning in Ottawa.

Entitled "One Dead Pilot," the report argues that fighter aircraft with a single engine — as the F-35 has — are too dangerous and unreliable to be used by the Canadian military.

"This issue is especially important for Canada, which has the longest coastline in the world and vast Arctic territories," writes Byers.

Bird strikes

In the report, Byers compares the F-35 to the single-engine CF-104 Starfighter, which the Canadian air force used from the 1960s to 1987 and which was involved in 110 crashes in that time.

A quarter of those crashes were attributed to bird strikes and the fact there was no secondary engine to allow the plane to keep flying.

Byers is the Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law and the University of British Columbia and also a former NDP candidate.

"Engine failures will still occur, and when they do so away from an airport, a second engine is the only thing that can prevent a crash," Byers concludes.

- On Mobile? Read the report here.

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