OK so this blog entry may be a little off topic but I just had to comment as it is a topic near and dear to my heart. The Canadian Air Force has some of the best pilots in the world. We consistently rank in the top when it comes to NATO exercises, TOP GUN training, or just about any combat aircraft competition held anywhere on the planet.
To get there you have to have top notch equipment and more importantly you have to use it to its limits. This comes from training and operational use. And lots of it. Canada currently uses the F-18, one of the best fighter aircraft ever made.
For Canadian pilots, who fly in some of the most population scarce parts of the planet, having fighter aircraft with two engines is vitally important. It allows pilots to get back to base if one engine fails. And from time to time they do exactly that. I worked in Base Flight Safety when I was an Officer Cadet in the Forces in the mid-eighties. Other than learning what happens to aircraft in every type of incident possible (birds at 500km/hr in-flight collision speeds are the worst), I also came away with an appreciation of why the Canadian Air Force has, since the single engined F-86 Sabre was retired, required their fighters to have two engines.
Besides safety, it comes down to economics. When an aircraft with two engines has one of those engines fail it can usually get back to base on one. It is a mechanical failure but usually not an emergency. When an aircraft with one engine has an engine failure you have an emergency. If it cannot be re-started in the air, and depending on the altitude of the failure you do not have much time as fighter aircraft sink like rocks with no power. Therefore if the pilot has to eject you not only have to spend time and money to recover him/her, you have just lost a $135 million aircraft in the case of the F-35.
Current F-18 E/F versions will set you back about $ 90 million each. Canada already has most of the infrastructure in place to service them. And when one engine fails it does not cost you $ 135 million in a lost aircraft. It is incomprehensible to me why we would chose the F-35.