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F-35 Fighter Jet Purchase

Admiral Beez

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I predict Liberal majority. The Cons will implode, and the Dippers and Greens will cancel each other out. We are seeing the historic destruction of the NDP and the ascendency of the Greens as the third place party.
 

BurlOak

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I predict Liberal majority. The Cons will implode, and the Dippers and Greens will cancel each other out. We are seeing the historic destruction of the NDP and the ascendency of the Greens as the third place party.
You might be right.
It's hard to believe that Canadians could be that stupid - but 4 years ago we proved that we are.
The mess they made with fighter jets is one in a long line of terrible policy ideas they stumbled through.
 
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Admiral Beez

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You might be right.
It's hard to believe that Canadians could be that stupid - but 4 years ago we proved that we are.
The mess they made with fighter jets is one in a long line of terrible policy ideas they stumbled through.
Let’s stop the Justin blabbering. It was Harper’s dithering that got us to the point where Trudeau could further screw up the file.

Harper was Prime Minister from February 6, 2006, to November 4, 2015. In July 2010, Harper's government announced that it was ordering 65 F-35s to replace the existing 80 CF-18, with the first to arrive in 2016. Not including the four years (2006-2010) when PM Harper did nothing on the CF-18 replacement file, he had five years from the F-35 announcement to put pen to paper, but Harper never put the project in the defence budget and never signed the damn contract with Lockheed-Martin. All Trudeau’s done is continue Harper prevaricating and dithering on the fighter procurement project.

It’s the same with the EH-101, With Mulroney’s Conservative government, in office since 1984 doing nothing for three years on the Sea King replacement before announcing in 1987 the purchase of the EH-101, but not a single aircraft was delivered by the time the Liberals took over government five years later in 1993.

Canadian governments take too damn long to procure military kit, so that nothing is irrevocably underway before the government changes. If the Liberals lose in October we can expect another five years of delays while the Cons work to undo whatever little progress on the fighter project the Liberals have made.
 
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kEiThZ

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However, from the polls I assume the next government will be a Liberal minority supported by the Greens and NDP. I wonder if such a government would go ahead with the F35.
An interesting scenario. Because if the F-35 is selected, it'll be the result of the open competition everyone claims they wanted. Canada's reputation will be in the toilet if after an open competition, the government refuses to procure because what they liked didn't get picked. It's definitely a possible scenario though.
 

kEiThZ

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It’s the same with the EH-101, With Mulroney’s Conservative government, in office since 1984 doing nothing for three years on the Sea King replacement before announcing in 1987 the purchase of the EH-101, but not a single aircraft was delivered by the time the Liberals took over government five years later in 1993.

I'll call out this statement. The reason no helicopter was delivered in 5 years is because it was brand spanking new design, which had just had first flight in 1987 and still had development going on. Even the Brits didn't take delivery till 1997. A full 20 years after the original specifications were written in 1977. The Italians took delivery in 1999. And in a twist of irony, Canada was still the second customer, taking delivery in 1997 of the CH149 Cormorant, the Search-and-Rescue variant of the EH-101, a contract won in an open competition.

How long does a newly designed helicopter take to bring into service? Well we signed the contract to replace the Sea Kings with CH148 Cyclones (a derivative of the Sikorsky S-92) in 2004. First delivery was in 2015. Despite being a "derivative", there was so much new development on the platform that it needed to certified and tested as practically a brand new design. That's how long it takes.

Canada was supposed to be one of the launch customers and global partners along with Italy and the UK. We were supposed to have a production line in Canada. Very few people realize what a blow the cancellation of the EH-101 was to our aviation sector (particularly the fledgling rotary wing aviation side). It's actually closer to a lot of the hype that is/was around the Avro Arrow. In a real twist of irony, this Liberal government bought the whole fleet of EH-101s that were meant to be Presidential Transports and is spending $1.5 billion modifying them for SAR and upgrading the rest of the fleet. This would make the RCAF one of the largest EH-101 operators in the world. So after three decades, we have 2/3s of the EH-101 we planned to operate and a whole fleet of CH148s Cyclones that aren't as capable as the original EH-101s we planned to buy for the maritime role.

Canadian governments take too damn long to procure military kit, so that nothing is irrevocably underway before the government changes.
We like to complain about it, but from my time in the US, they aren't substantially faster than us. What they do that is better is the recognition that the Defence Industrial Base/Complex needs to be preserved. So procurement is run on cycles that limit gaps in production. We're trying to do that with shipbuilding in Canada. But not in other sectors of defence or government procurement. Why, for example, does the General Dynamics plant in London not have steady employment from armoured vehicles being bought for the Army? Or the Bombardier rail plant in Thunder Bay? Our planning sucks at creating sustainable and predictable business streams.

If the Liberals lose in October we can expect another five years of delays while the Cons work to undo whatever little progress on the fighter project the Liberals have made.
I think it comes down to which aircraft wins. If the Cons win and the F-35 is selected, would they really not procure? I doubt it.
 
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Admiral Beez

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In the mid-1960s Canada chose the Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter, building the Canadair CF-5. It was considered a bad choice for the CAF, being low tech and low capability.

If Canada were to repeat this for the CF-18 replacement, what's the absolute lowest priced, but diplomatically feasible (so, no HAL Tejas or CAC JF-17) option Canada could choose? It could either be second-hand as F-35s begin global deliveres (such as ex-Belgium F-16s or more F-18As) or cheap new-builds.

I suppose the closest thing to the CF-5 today is the British Aerospace Hawk 200. The low supersonic (VD of Mach 1.2) Hawk 200 is AIM-120 AMRAAM armed, has a longer combat range than the CF-18 and more than capable of dropping bombs on the Third World despots the RCAF seems to be fighting since the Cold War.

But what's your suggested cheapo option for the RCAF?
 

lenaitch

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In the mid-1960s Canada chose the Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter, building the Canadair CF-5. It was considered a bad choice for the CAF, being low tech and low capability.

If Canada were to repeat this for the CF-18 replacement, what's the absolute lowest priced, but diplomatically feasible (so, no HAL Tejas or CAC JF-17) option Canada could choose? It could either be second-hand as F-35s begin global deliveres (such as ex-Belgium F-16s or more F-18As) or cheap new-builds.

I suppose the closest thing to the CF-5 today is the British Aerospace Hawk 200. The low supersonic (VD of Mach 1.2) Hawk 200 is AIM-120 AMRAAM armed, has a longer combat range than the CF-18 and more than capable of dropping bombs on the Third World despots the RCAF seems to be fighting since the Cold War.

But what's your suggested cheapo option for the RCAF?
From the list of eligible suppliers, Saab Aerospace's JAS-39 Gripen is the cheapest in terms of unit price. There are a gazillion different ways to calculate 'cost' (procurement, cost-per-flight-hour, life-cycle, etc.) plus other things like training, industrial offsets, and on and on, and each one can be calculated different ways and guaranteed to start fights among competing affectionados.
Only SAAB, L-M and Boeing are on the list and I don't know if they are restricted to what aircraft they can offer, but as far as I know the Gripen (E), F-18 and F-35 and the only ones that have production lines running. I don't think either L-M or Boeing have anything "cheapo" in production. SAAB and Boeing have partnered on a trainer (T-7) but I don't think a non-trainer variant is yet in the works. They might down the road if they think there is a market for one.
 

Admiral Beez

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@lenaitch what about second hand aircraft? We’re operating former RAAF Hornets now and operated former USAF F-101 Voodoos and ex-USN Banshee fighters. Outside of fighters, we’re operating second hand Leopard 2 tanks, submarines, RCN supply ships, and former American Lockheed Martin VH-71 helicopters (US variant of EH-101).

So, what cheap used fighters could the RCAF buy? Are there any low mileage 10-15 year old F-16s, F-18s or even Mirages and Eurofighters?
 
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lenaitch

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@lenaitch what about second hand aircraft? We’re operating former RAAF Hornets now and operated former USAF F-101 Voodoos and ex-USN Banshee fighters. Outside of fighters, we’re operating second hand Leopard 2 tanks, submarines, RCN supply ships, and former American Lockheed Martin VH-71 helicopters (US variant of EH-101).

So, what cheap used fighters could the RCAF buy? Are there any low mileage 10-15 year old F-16s, F-18s or even Mirages and Eurofighters?
Sorry, boss. I'm not able to give a knowledgeable answer to that. I'm not sure an aircraft that is that old with 'low mileage' exists. The way I understand it, the RAAF Hornets are no younger than the ones we have. They simply allowed us to put more planes in the air to address the stated 'capability gap'. Like anything else, as machines get older their maintenance gets higher and you get into major component replacement. A lot of existing US aircraft are getting really miled-out waiting for the F-35 to come online, and they have their ANG to keep equipped. I think older Mirages and Eurofighters aren't capable of being upgraded to a level that would allow us to operate effectively for any length of time, if at all. It seems the biggest upgrade factor these days (stealth aside) is technology rather than airframe/performance, and some of the older stuff simply can't accommodate it. There are upgraded version of both the F-15 and F-16 but I don't know if they exist on more than paper.

Or somebody will come along and tell me I'm all wrong.

The biggest problem with buying used, especially really used, is our history of keeping equipment way past their useful service life. The Banshee was only in Canadian service for about 11 years and the Voodoo about 25. We're already at 36 for the CF-18. We don't have a problem of money as much a problem of will. Many people think (if they think about defence and the military at all) that we can repeat history and crank out equipment and train 'prairie farmboy sailors' starting the day after a crisis hits.
 

Admiral Beez

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A single seat KAI T-50 Golden Eagle would be nice. Though we already operate the Hawk trainer, so the Hawk 200 makes sense in the reduced fighter-strike role. The upcoming Boeing T-X looks like a contender....

Of course I want a proper, latest Gen fighter for the RCAF, and the F-35 is the best pick. So above I’m just suggesting what the accountants might want as the lowest possible cost for the CF-18 whilst still keeping to our NORAD commitments.
 

lenaitch

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A single seat KAI T-50 Golden Eagle would be nice. Though we already operate the Hawk trainer, so the Hawk 200 makes sense in the reduced fighter-strike role. The upcoming Boeing T-X looks like a contender....

Of course I want a proper, latest Gen fighter for the RCAF, and the F-35 is the best pick. So above I’m just suggesting what the accountants might want as the lowest possible cost for the CF-18 whilst still keeping to our NORAD commitments.
As mentioned, KAI and BAE aren't on the list so they won't be players. A challenge many of the light aircraft available, indeed a problem even the 'front line' ones have, is range, especially in terms of our NORAD commitment as well as some NATO roles such Iceland air policing. In-flight refueling is necessary and not all of the light fighters have that capability. Many also lack sophisticated or at least robust offensive and defensive electronics.
It's all in what we want them to do. Peer-to-peer conflict in unsecured airspace takes a lot more that 'bombing tents'. In my mind, there's a difference between making compromises; i.e. hard choices, in light of limited dollars versus trying to do defence on the cheap.
I have read arguments that we should buy some light counter-insurgency aircraft, such as the Embraer Super Tucano to support UN peacekeeping. First, I'm not convinced the population understands modern peacekeeping and thinks of the good old Pearsonian days, and I'm not convinced the government has its heart in it, except perhaps in a safe support role. Besides, how would we get them from here to wherever there is?
 

Admiral Beez

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On Monday we’re likely to have a coalition Liberal-NDP government. I can’t see the king maker NDP agreeing to buy the F-35. Does this mean the CF-18 and their ex-Australian cousins will soldier on into the mid-2020?
 

pman

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On Monday we’re likely to have a coalition Liberal-NDP government. I can’t see the king maker NDP agreeing to buy the F-35. Does this mean the CF-18 and their ex-Australian cousins will soldier on into the mid-2020?
Not at all. It means they’ll soldier on into the mid-2070’s.
 

kEiThZ

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On Monday we’re likely to have a coalition Liberal-NDP government. I can’t see the king maker NDP agreeing to buy the F-35. Does this mean the CF-18 and their ex-Australian cousins will soldier on into the mid-2020?
If the NDP wants to lose more seats in Quebec, they should do this....Guess where a lot of the Canadian F-35 industrial base is.

Also, I'd like to see what the arguments against an open competition, in favor of specific options. Notably since cancelling an open competition is likely to draw or reinforce policies against Canadian exports (Buy American, etc). There's several sectors (transit vehicle and bus OEMs) that could use access to the US market, that could very easily be targeted.

My guess is, the procurement quietly goes through. Everyone feigns outrage and then claims they can't do anything while accusing the Liberals of a "rigged" competition or some such nonsense.

Legacy Hornet fleet is now slated to get an upgrade and life extension program. To take them to at least 2032.


What a remarkable waste of taxpayer dollars this is. Half a billion being spent to provide upgraded legacy aircraft to serve 5 years. Coming online just a year or two before the first replacement delivery. Necessary, because nobody trust the politicians not to push through the replacement capability on time, risking actual collapse of our air defence capabilities in the late 2020s.
 
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