Friday, March 20, 2009

What's $1.3 billion anyway

A follow up to Lt-General Andrew Leslie's testimony before the Defence Committee about ten days ago where he expressed frustration about the Leopard 2 tank purchase by the government, 80 of which are in storage in both Europe and Montreal, to the army's frustration. Our military obligation in Afghanistan ends in 2011 and David Pugliese reports that 2013 is still looking like the date by which they'd be ready although the Defence Department really appear to have put these tanks on the back burner:
Dan Ross, ADM Materiel, told a Commons committee that the refurbishment work would start in early 2009 and the tanks would be operational (all of them) by 2011.

But the latest response from DND indicates there is now no solid timeline for all this to happen. I’m also told by folks in industry not to expect the tanks to be operational until around 2013.
So in the wake of the Lt-General's high profile smack down of the government, they've basically decided to just let these $1.3 billion tanks sit. Pugliese received a general p.r. press release about the history of the tank purchase in response to his questions about when the tanks would be refurbished and made operational. The non-responsive response, he notes, was approved of by the PMO and MacKay's office.

$1.3 billion so very well spent.