Canada move to buy F-35 jets was flawed: auditor

OTTAWA, April 3 Tue Apr 3, 2012 10:09am EDT

OTTAWA, April 3 (Reuters) - Canada's decision to buy advanced F-35 fighter jets was based on a badly flawed process that underestimated costs and risks, a spending watchdog said on Tuesday, dealing another blow to a defense project that is already delayed and well over budget.

The Conservative government announced in July 2010 that it would buy 65 of the Joint Strike Fighters, made by Lockheed Martin, to replace an aging fleet of CF-18 fighters.

The government responded to the watchdog's report by saying it would freeze the C$9 billion budget it had allocated for new fighters and would not sign a contract until it had reexamined the procurement process.

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