Adding a bit more fuel to the fire

Looks like Canada is one step closer to finally selecting a replacement for the aging CF-18. Due to the increasing number of nations selecting the F-35 I feel it likely Canada will do the same. Furthering that believe is the knowledge that Canada is a program partner, with a domestic aerospace industry hungry for the financial uptick this program brings.

Should things go the way I feel they will, the day this decision is announced to the world will be a delicious one. I say that due to the cries of outrage sure to choke the internet for the days, weeks, and months to follow.

~ by arcturus415 on June 13, 2014.

2 Responses to “Adding a bit more fuel to the fire”

  1. Do not hold your breath about Canada being any closer to finally selecting the F-35 as a replacement for the aging CF-18. Yes, Canada has been involved in the Joint Strike Fighter Program from its beginning, investing US$10 million to be an “informed partner” during the evaluation process. Once Lockheed Martin was selected as the primary contractor for the JSF program, Canada elected to become level 3 participants along with Norway, Denmark, Turkey and Australia. An additional US$100 million from the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) over 10 years and another $50 million from Industry Canada were dedicated in 2002, making them an early participant of the JSF program.

    That being said sources say the government feels it’s being rushed and pressured by the Canadian Armed Forces and parts of the civil service the Conservatives are trying to take it slower, concerned that the civil service was pushing too heavily for a decision to buy the F-35 without a competition”. The government was irritated by what it saw as a growing perception among defence lobbyists and foreign governments that it had already selected a plane even before ministers had formally gathered to deliberate. It blames the bureaucracy for communicating this impression.

    I’m not sure how much slower they can go. It’s been two years now and have accomplished nothing. They could have had an open competition and been done by now but the Harper (PC) Government won’t make a decision until after the next election. They know the majority of Canadians are against the F-35s. As it is, they will likely lose the election, but the F35s could cost them some support which would make the loss more certain. If they win the next election, you can be sure that they will decide to buy the F-35s. Imagine how long it will take to make a final decision when it took this long to make a decision that they needed more information to make a decision. Brilliant, if they stretch this out a little longer they can get quotes on the NEXT generation aircraft capable of safely flying long arctic flights with half an engine.

    But no matter what the decision is it will be hugely unpopular. There simply isn’t any option available that will be politically popular. If we don’t buy new jets soon then we won’t have an air force and will need to pay the US to patrol our skies. Nobody wants that and if we do buy the F-35 it will be extremely expensive. If we buy anything else it will be nearly as expensive (don’t expect any meaningful savings by buying any other jet since the costs are mostly in operating the jets, not in purchasing them) and we risk having a lower quality product.

    The decision will be made after the election and regardless of who makes the decision or what that decision is it will cause the party that makes it lose popularity. It is a no-win situation, and Harper doesn’t want that before the election. But in the meantime so far Canada has no new jets, no helicopters and no ships; but a lot of trash talk to Iran and Russia.

    • If anything, the Canadian government should feel rushed simply due to the fact that the current CF-18’s are nearing the point where either replacement, or a costly life extension program are necessary. Canada is trying to have their cake and eat it too, which is nice in theory but far harder to pull off than the average Canadian seems to understand. At this point, Canada is seeing industry benefits from F-35 component and associated systems manufacturing. Should Canada elect not to procure the F-35 those industry benefits will vanish, as one would expect.

      At this point I would love to see an open competition simply because of the truth such a competition would expose the Canadian population to. Many hail the Gripen as a magical solution, despite the fact that Saab put forth nothing more than marketing material. An open competition would clear up many of the common misconceptions about the Gripen. From a pure entertainment standpoint, I would love to watch that unfold with popcorn in hand.

      At some point, Canada needs to realize that a CF-18 life extension will be costly, while offering diminishing returns. Any fighter replacement will be costly. If Canada wishes to maintain a current capability, they need to pay the price of admission. Personally, I feel it likely Canada will, in the end, procure the F-35 even if an open competition is held. The merits of the F-35 in regards to capability, sustainability, industry participation, and overall cost as it compares to other aircraft that may participate in any open competition will speak for themselves. The proof, as they say, will be in the pudding.

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