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F-35 Fighter Jet Purchase

Admiral Beez

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You can't be serious. Had something actually happened back then, those Voodoos would have been lawn darts.
Maybe at the tail end of their service, but when we got the CF-101s in 1961 they were competitive against the only likely threat, that of unescorted Soviet bombers - a threat that for the most part dissappeered into the 1980s with the advent of ICBMs.

If a force of Soviet bombers enters Canadian airspace in the 1960s or early 1970s the two most likely NORAD interceptors to meet them would be the CF-101 or the USAF's F-106. Either one will do fine, especially if using the AIR-2. How exactly will the CF-101 end up as lawn darts in their intended NORAD role?

The only time Canada has needed a multi-role fighter like the CF-18 has been when we've got involved in other people's wars. Balkans, Iraq, Libya, etc. I sometimes think the air force pushed for these deployments so that they'd have something to do with their jets.
 
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kEiThZ

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How effective is SAM against top of the line fighters employed by potential adversaries?
It's very contextual. It depends on the level of integration of the air defence system. A single missile can be really effective (see the F-117 that was shot down in Bosnia). Or can be easily countered (as numerous have been in Libya, Bosnia, etc.).

The concern going forward is not the next few years. The problem is that sophisticated air defence systems are getting cheaper. And you have the Chinese and Russians who are willing to sell to just about anybody (recall that a Chinese arms delegation was meeting with Gadhafi mere weeks before his downfall). And that's today. This fighter has to be combat relevant for another 30 years. Under this scenario, the RCAF faces a global environment with increasing threats. Stealth becomes a basic feature necessary for survivability. Or we start planning to spent hundreds of millions to get our own 'Wild Weasel' (jamming) capability.
 

kEiThZ

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Maybe at the tail end of their service, but when we got the CF-101s in 1961 they were competitive against the only likely threat, that of unescorted Soviet bombers - a threat that for the most part dissappeered into the 1980s with the advent of ICBMs.

If a force of Soviet bombers enters Canadian airspace in the 1960s or early 1970s the two most likely NORAD interceptors to meet them would be the CF-101 or the USAF's F-106. Either one will do fine, especially if using the AIR-2. How exactly will the CF-101 end up as lawn darts in their intended NORAD role?
Keyword: tail end of service. In this case, that tail end was well over half a decade long. We aren't talking about brief gaps in service.

The only time Canada has needed a multi-role fighter like the CF-18 has been when we've got involved in other people's wars. Balkans, Iraq, Libya, etc. I sometimes think the air force pushed for these deployments so that they'd have something to do with their jets.
Nonsense. It is not the CF that pushes for war. They may advise cabinet on feasibility of a mission. But to argue that the CF pushes for an aggressive military agenda to shake out budgets is nonsense. If that was the case, we would have deployed fighters to Afghanistan (never happened). And we most certainly would not have seen the fighter fleet atrophy from 140 aircraft to 80. And now going down to 65 with the next generation.

It's quite easy (and lazy) to think this. But the reality is nothing like this. The reality is that politicians aren't willing to commit to a non-interventionist foreign policy. And as long as they aren't, it is incumbent on the CF to plan for such a mission. Let them put out a foreign policy white paper that says we will never intervene militarily overseas. The Liberals went in the other direction, pushing for the R2P doctrine at the UN. The Conservatives have been willing to resort to force in places like Libya. And for all the principled talk of the NDP, when something like Libya happens, they seem ready to intervene with force, when there's a public outcry against atrocities. Find me one politician who is willing to publicly commit to never deploying forces overseas; even to stop massacres or genocides.
 

nfitz

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And we most certainly would not have seen the fighter fleet atrophy from 140 aircraft to 80. And now going down to 65 with the next generation.
Surely the reason we need a lot less CF-18s than when we first deployed them in the 1980s, is we finally withdrew our occupation forces from West Germany.
 

kEiThZ

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Surely the reason we need a lot less CF-18s than when we first deployed them in the 1980s, is we finally withdrew our occupation forces from West Germany.
60 less? I don't think so. That's substantially less than the squadrons we maintained in Europe. And now we're going to go down to 65 because government policy dictates that the CF will not plan for attrition. We are not to buy additional aircraft in the initial procurement. We are to buy aircraft which will be in production for years. That way we can buy replacement aircraft as required.

That policy may save money in the short term. But it further complicates considering alternatives. None of the alternatives have enough orders to really keep them in production past 2020.

In any event, as predicted, the Air Staff will back out if the technical or cost risk proves too high. Now the question is, if the government is willing to swallow the fact that it might actually have to do two fighter buys (one now and one in 15 years).
 

nfitz

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60 less? I don't think so. That's substantially less than the squadrons we maintained in Europe.
Substantially less? When we first deployed the CF-18 to CFB Baden-Soellingen there were 3 squadrons of 18 planes each. That's 54. Throw in the spares and whatever was being maintained, and that's pretty much what the difference is.
 

Admiral Beez

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In the case that the F-35 is taken off the table, what are Canada's options for replacing the CF-18s?

The F-15E is still in production, as is the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. If we don't choose American, what about the Gripen, Eurofighter or Rafale? All three are still in production.
 

Tulse

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I can't imagine Harper not going with an American plane. And dropping the F-35 would really irritate the US, so I don't really see even that as a likelihood, whatever noises are being made. That's what annoys me most about this whole debacle -- decisions are being made based on politics rather than good fiscal and defense sense.
 

Admiral Beez

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Canada is not married to the US for military procurement. We've bought Leopard II tanks from Holland, CH-149 Cormorants from Britain/Italy, Victoria subs from Britain (not our best buy), cannons for our frigates from Sweden, G-wagons from Germany, and a whole host of other kit from other places.

Going back further, post-war we've bought Leo I tanks from Germany, Oberon subs, de Havilland Vampires and two aircraft carriers from Britain.
 

Tulse

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True, but for those other purchases, was the US offering an alternative? In any case, while Canada may have historically made its purchases independent of the US, the Harper government has been far closer to the States. And the F-35 is a very high profile project for the US, literally the most expensive weapons program in history -- they would be extremely unhappy if an ally who committed to purchases backed out (especially as that might cause a cascade with the other "partners" such as Australia and Japan).
 

Admiral Beez

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Canada hasn't committed to purchasing anything. Fatino reminded us all of that last week.

Harper isn't afraid to piss off the Americans. Look at the oil sands, where Harper's position is that if the US gives too much trouble, Canada will build new relations and sell oil to China et al. And, Canada will be following the lead of the Australians, Brits, and Spanish when it comes to reducing or canceling any perceived commitments for the F-35.

In the end I think we'll still get American aircraft, but more likely the Super Hornet. Mind you, like the Leo II tanks, we might just buy up other countries' F-18A Hornets, such as Finland or Spain (I can't recall which), which IIRC just re'furbed all theirs.
 

Solid Snake

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Super Hornets would do just fine for us. Wouldn't the same amount of money for the F-35 give us 2 times more Super F-18?

Correction: almost 3 time
 

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