2012 Spring Report of the Auditor General of Canada

Spring 2012 Report—Chapter 2

Exhibit 2.3—Timeline of key events for Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program and F-35 procurement

The following shows the key events that occurred (or will occur) between 1997 and 2051.

The events are organized by year—according to Canada’s involvement in the Joint Strike Fighter Program and F-35 procurement and according to the US and international involvement in the Joint Strike Fighter Program.

Year Canada—JSF Program and F-35 procurement United States (US) and international—JSF Program


  • National Defence signed JSF Program’s first-phase memorandum of understanding (MOU)
  • First phase (concept demonstration) began


  • National Defence began CF-18 modernization
  • National Defence, Industry Canada, and others signed an interdepartmental MOU defining roles and responsibilities
  • Treasury Board approved CAN$171 million for second JSF Program phase
  • US selected Lockheed Martin as prime contractor to build the F-35
  • First phase ended
  • Second phase (system development and demonstration) began


  • National Defence signed JSF Program’s second-phase MOU.
  • National Defence assigned Canadian representative to JSF Program office




  • Technical, costing, and manufacturing review led to first JSF Program adjustment


  • National Defence completed a preliminary options analysis of five candidate aircraft
  • Industry Canada signed industrial participation MOUs with US prime contractors
  • Treasury Board approved CAN$192 million (to 2013) for Canada’s participation in JSF Program’s third phase
  • National Defence signed JSF Program’s third-phase MOU
  • Third phase (production, sustainment, and follow-on development) began



  • Second JSF Program adjustment.


  • Government released Canada First Defence Strategy.
  • National Defence started work to replace CF-18s, including identifying 14 high-level mandatory capabilities
  • National Defence completed options analysis of three contender aircraft against high-level capabilities.
  • Independent costing review of JSF Program


  • National Defence sought government’s decision to purchase F-35, but process was put on hold
  • Treasury Board approved five-year investment plan for National Defence, which included National Defence’s plan to buy next generation fighter aircraft
  • Independent costing and manufacturing reviews of JSF Program


  • National Defence officially began Next Generation Fighter Capability project to replace CF-18s
  • Officials in National Defence and Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) signed decision documents for government consideration
  • National Defence provided letter to PWGSC to justify procuring F-35 without competition
  • Chief of Air Staff approved formal statement of operational requirement
  • National Defence completed formal options analysis concluding F-35 was only aircraft to meet requirements
  • Government of Canada announced decision to buy 65 F-35s through JSF Program
  • National Defence gave PWGSC access to final statement of operational requirement
  • Third JSF Program adjustment
  • US began comprehensive independent technical review of detailed plans that will result in additional program restructuring


  • Parliamentary Budget Officer released report estimating cost of F-35 purchase
  • National Defence responded to Parliamentary Budget Officer’s report


Expected events


  • National Defence plans to seek Treasury Board approval and expenditure authority for Next Generation Fighter Capability project



  • Beginning of transition to F-35
  • F-35 developmental testing complete



  • Second phase expected to end
  • Fully capable aircraft available


  • Expected delivery of first F-35s in Canada



  • Estimated end of CF-18 fleet life




  • Production of F-35 expected to end



  • Third phase expected to end

Source: Adapted from various National Defence, Industry Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada, and JSF Program Office documents