By Jeremy Herb - 12/07/12 04:48 PM EST
The Canadian government now plans to shop for alternatives — though it could still wind up selecting the F-35 again — as it considers other options, according to the Globe and Mail.
The F-35 fighter has been hampered by cost overruns and delays, and the rising overall cost has been a major concern and source of criticism for all countries involved.
According to Canadian media, the program was initially supposed to cost $9 billion when Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government announced the purchase in 2010. An audit in April revealed the cost would actually be $25 billion over 20 years, and that number has gone upward once again.
In the United States, the F-35 has long been eyed by budget cutters and military spending critics, and new cost increases could make it a bigger target as defense budgets trend downward.
Lockheed Martin in a statement did not specifically address the reports that Canada might abandon the F-35, but noted the company has been a partner with Canada for 50 years, saying: "We continue to look forward to supporting the Canadian government as they work to provide their Air Force 5th Generation capability for their future security needs."