The Minute Book
Monday, 24 April 2017

Canadian Defence Budget Costs Mounting Steadily (1968)
Topic: Canadian Armed Forces

Canadian Defence Budget Costs Mounting Steadily (1968)

Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph, Quebec City, 29 November 1968

Washington (CP)—The standard American army rifle in 1946 cost $31. Its modern equivalent costs $150.

That five-fold increase in buying today's simple bread and butter military equipment holds generally true through the vastly more complicated and expensive items in modern arsenals.

It helps explain, officials say here, the protracted nature of Canada's review of military commitments for NATO, for North American defence and elsewhere—as reconciled with other priorities.

Canada has become only a moderate military spender. The Institute of Strategic Studies in London, for example, rates the over-all Canadian defence budget sixth among the 15-country NATO alliance and Canada 12th in the slice of its gross domestic product allocated to defence.

It says nine other NATO countries maintain larger defence establishments.

But the simple maintenance of that status with new weapons to replace those now nearing their useful life will cost Canada tens of millions for aircraft alone at today's steadily-rising prices.

Newer Voodoos Needed

Three squadrons of Voodoo interceptor aircraft, acquired off the shelf from the U.S. for North American defence purposes, will be obsolete in 1973. They could be "stretched out" by swaps for some slightly newer American Voodoos. The U.S. price tag for each plane was $1,800,000.

Canada has six squadrons of CF-104 Starfighters with NATO, manufactured in Canada and also due to be retired in 1973. That price was about $2,000,000 a plane.

The Canadian defence department, mindful perhaps of the ill-fated Avro Arrow abandoned in 1959, recently decided against entering a consortium with European allies to build an all-purpose fighter interceptor aircraft.

Defence Minister Cadieux said 250 planes might have cost Canada as much as $2,000,000,000 over seven to eight years.

The alternative is to buy another off the shelf aircraft from the U.S., or some other supplier, unless the defence review leads to some other solution.

Canada also has 11 Canada-built Yukon and 24 Hercules transport aircraft to replace, not to mention that Canada-built Argus for anti-sub marine work.

Consider Giant Craft

Some consideration has been given to the world's largest aircraft being built by the U.S., the C5A, designed to carry about 700 troops each, or tanks or helicopters.

The U.S. defence department has just announced that the estimated price for each plane has gone up by $10,000,000—to about $35,000,000. It could be higher if labor and material costs, and technical bugs, continue their impact.

A strictly Canadian example of inflation is the four helicopter-carrying destroyers first planned in 1966 and perhaps earmarked for NATO use as Canada's contribution to the NATO response to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

The original cost estimate for all four was about $160,000,000 and it now exceeds $220,000,000.

A lengthy list of then and now arms prices was read into one congressional record in October, based on official U.S. list prices, as a warning not to expect any reduction in military spending in the future.

The old B-17 of Second World War fame cost $218,000 and the controversial F-111 fighter-bomber costs $7,000,000. The F-86 Sabre jet fighter used in Korea cost a little less than $300,000—Canada built about 1,800 at an average cost of $355,000—and the F-4 Phantom, the best U.S. plane in Vietnam, costs $2,100,000.

A Second World War submarine came at $4,700,000 and a modern nuclear attack sub costs $77,000,000. The battleship New Jersey cost $108,000,000 to build between 1940 and 1943. To get it out of mothballs, for a belated appearance off Vietnam recently, cost $20,000,000.

An 81 millimetre mortar cost $669 in 1946 and costs $2,430 this year.

Even the cost of a cot, canvas, folding, is up. It cost $6.00 eight years ago and now it costs $15.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT
Thursday, 19 January 2017

A-Secrecy Gives Canadian Fliers and Sailors Outmoded Weapons
Topic: Canadian Armed Forces

A-Secrecy Gives Canadian Fliers and Sailors Outmoded Weapons for Defending U.S. Cities

Toledo Blade, Toledo, Ohio, 13 July 1958
By Gerard Waring

Ottawa—One of the matters that President Eisenhower and Prime Minister Deifenbaker discussed here this week was the position of Canada in light of the changes in American law which makes American military atomic science available to Great Britain.

The necessary qualification for receiving U.S. atomic aid is the prior development of atomic weapons by the nation which is to receive the aid. Britain is the only western nation that so qualifies.

For several years Canada has had the financial, scientific and fissile materials resources to produce atomic bombs. But the Canadian government has refrained from entering the atomic arms race and instead has concentrated its not inconsiderable atomic research faciloities on the development of peaceful uses of atomic energy.


Canada now needs atomic weapons, in the form of warheads for ground-to-air and air-to-air missiles rather than bombs, to defend Canada and to help defend the United States in case Russia attacks.

elipsis graphic

The entire Canadian air defence potential, excluding only a division of jet interceptors stations in Europe, is in process of being put under the operational control of the North American Air Defence Command at Colorado Springs, along with USAF jets.

The USAF jets are being armed with missiles equipped with atomic warheads. The RCAF's present CF-100 jet interceptors are armed only with rockets and cannon. Plans are to equip Canada's new supersonic jet, the CF-105, with Sparrow missiles developed by the U.S. Navy, but under present circumstances stemming from U.S. law, these missiles will have high explosive, rather than atomic warheads.

The Royal Canadian Navy is faced with a similar handicap. It is an anti-submarine fleet. Its job is to ferret out and sink enemy subs. The evidence is now overwhelming that the best defence against a nuclear sub is another nuclear sub. The Canadian navy is planning to acquire N-subs. But because of the restriction imposed on the U.S. navy by the McMahon Act, the Canadian navy cannot obtain from the U.S. Navy all the information it would like on the design of nuclear submarines. So Canada is working, with British help, on the development of its own atomic subs, needlessly duplicating research the U.S. already has done.

This situation, and the RCAF's lack of atomic warheads, weakens continental defence.

Obviously the new U.S. law was drafted so it would apply to Britain but not to France. For the sake of a roadblock in the way of France becoming the world's fourth atomic power, Canadian fliers may have to defend Chicago and Detroit with outmoded arms, and Canadian sailors to defend Boston and new York with outmoded ships.

The situation becomes more ridiculous in light of two additional facts:

Canada is the chief supplier of fissile materials for the American atomic arms program. Without the production of Canadian mines, the U.S. would be in a much less favorable position in the atoic race with Russia.

There has always been very free exchange of information and personnel between British and Canadian atomic projects, and between British and Canadian armed forces.

elipsis graphic

But the problem before President Eisenhower here this week was, how could he justify a "yes" to prime Minister Deifenbaker, and a "no" to General De Gaulle? How can the U.S. accept in atomic partnership an ally which has made no effort to develop atomic arms, and refuse such partnership to the French ally, which is very eager to produce its own atomic weapons and become the fourth member, with the U.S., Britain and Russia, of the "atomic club"? It is a dilemma that may not be resolved until France fires its own home-made A-bomb.

The Senior Subaltern

Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EST

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