Hello, Newport News Shipyard? I’d like to buy an aircraft carrier

From the Top of the Pile


“Hello, Newport News Shipyard? I’d like to buy an aircraft carrier.

“No, I’m not joking. I represent the Canadian government. I would like to buy a Ford-class nuclear powered aircraft carrier. You know, the one with the fancy schmancy electromagnetic catapults and arresting wires. Not one of those old Nimitz-class ones. They’re soooo 1970s. I want a 21st century carrier.

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“Yes, I know it’s nuclear powered. We mine uranium in Saskatchewan, remember? We can handle that.

“What’s the cost you say? US$13 billion? That’s about C$17 billion? Okay. I’ll just keep talking Yankee Doodle Dandy money here so we don’t get confused, then convert to Monopoly money at the end, eh?

“Very good. Okay, so, like, when I go buy my pickup, they always have these bells and whistles, so can you tell me what those might be? Oh, yes, planes. I might need some of those. About 75, you say? And you call that an air wing? I thought those older Nimitz carriers carried 90 planes. Don’t need that many anymore? Okay, fine 75. I might get a few more. Where do I get them from? Call Lockheed Boeing and Grumman, then call you back about some other stuff I might need, like floor mats, undercoating and escort vessels? Okay. Be right back.”


“Hello Lockheed? I’m from the Canadian government. I was just talking to your good buddies down in Newport News about buying a new carrier, and they tell me I need some planes, so I should call you first about some F-35Cs. Yeah, I need 36. That’s right, 36. Yes, I know that’s about half of what Canada was talking about for buying for the whole country, but we want this to be a gooder, so give me the full 36. Three squadrons. Right. US$121 million a pop, eh? So that’s $4.4 billion, give ’er take? Okay, put us down for 36.

“Oh, and you now own Sikorsky, too, right? I need 19 of those Seahawks helicopters. No, not those piece of crap Cyclones you sold us. Seahawks, got it? R and S models. About US$45 million each? About US$855 million. Okay, put me down for that, two. I might have to get back to you, cause I’m buying some escorts that will need choppers, too. Okay, bye.”


“Boeing, old buddy! Yeah, it’s me, your Canadian hoser! Yeah, that guy. Remember we got all pissy about that Bombardier C-series tariff thing? Well, we’re over that, and we need some Super Hornets. Yeah, that’s right, the whole shebang – F-18E, F and G models. That’s right, G for Growler. I want a couple 12-plane squadrons of Es and Fs, and another five Growlers. How much? US$70 million each? So that’s US$2 billion? Okay. Get ‘em to me quick and we’ll throw in a case of Crown Royale. Later, gator.”


“Grumman! How’s it going? I’m calling from Canada! We’d like to buy some of your planes. Yes, I know it’s been a very long time since Canada flew Grummans off a carrier. We’re trying to make up for that now. We need four E-2D Hawkeyes and two C-2 Greyhounds. You say they’re US$176 million and US$40 million a crack, eh? US$784 million. Okay. Get ‘em here quick.


“Okay, Newport News, you said you had some escorts for me? You can relay a message to your other division of Huntington Ingalls in Maine? Okay. We’re going to need some escorts for a carrier strike group. I guess we can’t get any more of those Ticonderoga Class Aegis cruisers, so we’re going to keep it simple and use Arleigh Burke Class Aegis destroyers instead. No, I don’t want any frigates, that’s the whole reason we’re in this mess in the first place. How many do I need? Five? At US$2.2 billion each? Done. And I need two choppers each? Okay, I’ll call Lockheed back and add them.

And you say I might want a couple subs for escorts. How about the ones we already have? Too slow, eh? Okay. I’ll call Electric Boat.

“Yes, we have a new supply ship. We’re good, but thanks for offering.”


“Electric Boat? Yeah, Canadian government here. We need two Virginia-class subs. How much? US$2.7 billion? Done. Build ‘em, please. Yes, we’re polite that way.


Muttering to self: “Okay, carrier, US$13 billion; air wing, US$8.5 billion; surface escorts, US$11 billion; sub escorts, US$5.4 billion. That comes to US$37.9 billion. We’re going to need some bombs and bullets for all this, so let’s throw in another, oh, US$6 billion. That should cover it. So about US$43.9 billion gets a new and fully armed carrier strike group. What’s that in Canadian? C$56 billion.

“And the Royal Canadian navy figures it’s now going to cost us C$60 billion, give or take, for just 15 surface combatants, i.e. big frigates or small destroyers.

“Something’s not right here…”

Brian Zinchuk is editor of Pipeline News. He can be reached at brian.zinchuk@sasktel.net

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