The $19-billion contract for the acquisition of 88 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) jets is currently being negotiated on behalf of our federal government. Given the F-35 is a strike aircraft designed mainly to bomb targets deep into enemy territory, it is unsuitable for the Royal Canadian Air Force whose primary role is the defence of the Canadian airspace. Furthermore, its operational and sustainment costs are so high that it would limit its usage, delay long-overdue modernization and acquisition of other assets. The total cost to own this fleet of made-in-the-U.S. aircraft is estimated to be $94-billion over three decades. This cost does not account for inflation which would raise it to around $200-billion. Given the Saab Gripen E multi-role aircraft meets all requirements at one-third the total cost and would be made in Canada, going ahead with the F-35 contract would be wrong and would burden Canadian taxpayers unnecessarily. Another aspect to consider is the undue reliance on the U.S. for acquisition of weapons systems. Given the political climate in that country and resulting uncertainties, such dependance is risky for our sovereignty. I, therefore, ask the federal government to make good on its promise not to purchase the F-35 JSF by terminating the current contract negotiations with Lockheed Martin and go with the Saab offer instead. Please note that I do not work for the latter. My interest is as a retired aeronautical engineer and Canadian taxpayer. Michel Fortier Québec City, Que.