The recent appointment of Anita Anand as minister of national defence is welcomed. While much as been made of her mandate to detox the CF top brass culture, one of her most pressing tasks has fallen under the media radar. In the first quarter of next year, the winner of the Future Fighter Capability Project (FFCP) competition for the replacement of the RCAF CF-18 is to be announced. Three candidates are under evaluation: Boeing F-18E Super Hornet (SH); Lockheed Martin F-35A Joint Strike Fighter (JSF); and Saab Gripen E. Technical criteria account for 60 per cent of the evaluation, industrial benefits 20 per cent, and cost 20 per cent. The results will lead to a multi-billion-dollar contract to acquire a fleet of 88 new fighter jets to last 35 years or so. Often overlooked, are the costs to fly and sustain the aircraft over their useful service life. Those are much greater than the purchase price and account for most of the total ownership or service life cost of the fleet. It is noteworthy that the JSF cost per flight hour is the highest at $48,000, or nearly twice that of SH and 3.5 times that of Gripen. We can therefore estimate that the JSF would cost us $40-billion more than the SH, or $60-billion more than the Gripen over the upcoming decades. Furthermore, the JSF is designed primarily for strikes. As such, it is unsuitable for the RCAF because the main role of our fighter aircraft is the defence of the Canadian airspace. Given Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's promise not to buy the F-35 JSF, plus ministers Chrystia Freeland's and Harjit Sajjan's comments about Boeing not being a trusted partner in reference to the Bombardier C-Series saga, Gripen remains the smarter option with better performance than its two rivals, and, even more so since it would be the only one built in Canada. It should be noted that I do not work for Saab. My interest is as a Canadian taxpayer and retired aeronautical engineer. Michel Fortier Québec City, Que.