Canada set to spend $9-billion on 65 US Fighter Jets - F35

Program progress, politics, orders, and speculation
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pushoksti

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Unread post11 Jun 2010, 04:21

architect wrote:Why not just to buy 24 F-35 and 60 Super Hornets, Silent Eagles or even the latest F-16 with reliable engines, very good capabilities and great range?
We can use the F-35 to suppress radars, communications centers or airplanes in the ground. The other airplanes could be used to patrol missions or day 2 of war, and even to air superiority. Russian Pakfa is far from be a real threat.
I love Eurocanards, but in the long term, there will be problems with upgrades and spares.


We can't afford 2 different fighter airframes. It may seem more logical on paper to have different frames for different roles, but it's not that easy.
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Unread post11 Jun 2010, 05:27

If you can afford a full AF complement of F-35s, you can afford a Hi-lo logistical mix of 3 part supplemental 4.5 and 1 part 5th gen. The savings in procurement can go to logistical Life Cycle costs and more timely upgrades. My views.
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Unread post11 Jun 2010, 22:58

Daniel Leblanc
Harper bending to U.S. on sole-source fighter purchase, documents reveal Ottawa — From Friday's Globe and Mail Published on Friday, Jun. 11, 2010 3:00AM EDT

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/pol ... le1600070/

"The Harper government is refusing to open up the $16-billion purchase of 65 new fighter jets to a competition because of the potential negative reaction in the United States and other allied countries, internal documents show.

The purchase of F-35 Lightning II fighter jets is one of the biggest military projects in Canadian history, almost equal in size to the entire 2006 plan to acquire more than 2,000 trucks, 21 transport planes, 16 heavy helicopters and three ships for the Canadian Forces.

The fighter contract is the subject of a heated lobbying campaign in Ottawa, as rival companies try to force the government to open up the purchase to a tendering process instead of giving it out sole-sourced to Lockheed-Martin.

The controversy is expected to grow as new federal documents show that the total value of the program comes to $16-billion once 20 years of maintenance are factored in, up from the $9-billion cost for the planes that came out earlier this week.

According to secret cabinet documents obtained by The Globe and Mail, officials are well aware that any move to open up the process to a competition could push the manufacturers of rival jets, such as the Boeing Super Hornet and the Eurofighter Typhoon, to lower their prices.

In addition, the government is expecting a “negative reaction” to the fact that the contract is set to be awarded without a competition.

But as the process is going through a series of cabinet committees, federal documents show that ministers are being urged to go along with an existing memorandum of understanding with U.S.-based manufacturer Lockheed-Martin.

One of the government’s major arguments is that a competition could hurt Canada’s reputation among the other countries that have been involved in Lockheed-Martin’s massive Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program since the 1990s.

The U.S. military is planning to buy more than 2,000 jets, and other countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom are also involved in the project. If Canada does not buy F-35s, officials say, it will be straying from the path followed by its “major allies” well into the middle of the century.

“Competitive process would send signal to US/partners that we are not fully committed to JSF,” stated the Canadian government, which has been involved since 1997.

The government added that the F-35 is deemed to be the only aircraft to meet Ottawa’s requirements, as spelled out in the 2008 “Canada First” defence policy. The F-35 would be the first jet in the Canadian Forces with radar-evading stealth capabilities, with the 65 new fighters replacing the current fleet of 80 CF-18s starting in 2017.

Finally, the government has obtained assurances that its position on a sole-sourced contract cannot be legally challenged by rival manufacturers.

“Public Works legal opinion confirms suitability of invoking an exemption in Government Contracting Regulations because only one aircraft meets the [Canadian Forces’] operational requirements,” a federal document states.

A number of senior government officials are staunch supporters of the F-35, given that Lockheed-Martin won the contract in the United States in 2001 to develop the so-called “fifth generation” of fighter jets, beating out a rival bid from Boeing.

In that context, officials said, the potential bids from Boeing and Eurofighter would be based on inferior “fourth generation” aircraft.

Canada has invested $160-million so far in the project, with Canadian firms receiving $350-million in contracts.

“Canada must commit to the JSF program to realize benefits,” the government said, pointing to a potential for $12-billion in future work.

But competing aircraft manufacturers say they want to participate in a competition, and that the government will get a better deal – and more regional industrial benefits spread out across Canada – if it opens up a tendering process.

“Competition guarantees the best value for Canada,” Boeing stated in a presentation to Conservative ministers last fall.

Officials at National Defence and Public Works refused Thursday to discuss the complete price tag for the new fighter jets, saying it “would be premature to discuss the details of a procurement, including cost figures and timelines.”

However, documents show that the cost of the acquisition is $8.99-billion, “along with sustainment services for 20 years valued at $6.93-billion.” In addition, the government is predicting that the operating costs to fly the stealth fighters over two decades will reach $9.6-billion.

According to the Canadian government, the funding for the new F-35 jets is already budgeted, and will end up costing only $890-million between now and 2014-15, with the rest of the acquisition cost of $8-billion to be paid in subsequent years."
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Unread post13 Jun 2010, 00:24

architect wrote:Why not just to buy 24 F-35 and 60 Super Hornets, Silent Eagles or even the latest F-16 with reliable engines, very good capabilities and great range?

That's not a bad plan, a hi-lo mix. However, maintaining multiple aircraft types has high long term costs: different engines, training, avionics, spares, etc.

Gulf War I showed that stealth was a game changing technology. If you're going to invest in a single new combat aircraft do you invest in the last gen, or the next gen? And in twenty years the F-16 will be as obsolete as a P-51 Mustang in 1960.
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Unread post13 Jun 2010, 02:17

Maybe a mix of block III Supers with NG Gripens? Similar enough logistics? Supers can act as NGJ jamming platforms (or at least Growler-lites) for Gripens, as well as buddy tankers in any hypothetical future scenario need be, as part of the strategic contingency planning?
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Unread post13 Jun 2010, 04:28

geogen wrote:Maybe a mix of block III Supers with NG Gripens? Similar enough logistics? Supers can act as NGJ jamming platforms (or at least Growler-lites) for Gripens, as well as buddy tankers in any hypothetical future scenario need be, as part of the strategic contingency planning?


Interesting point, but I don't think that would be enough to make it much easier. S-3's and A-10's used the same engine, but I don't imagine that would have helped...
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Unread post13 Jun 2010, 14:15

And in twenty years the F-16 will be as obsolete as a P-51 Mustang in 1960.


El Salvador/Honduras "Soccer War", 1969, P-51's versus F4U's.

:shock:

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Unread post03 Aug 2010, 13:31

CF-35 mockup from airliners.net (photo by Alain Rioux) if anyone's interested:

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Unread post13 Oct 2010, 23:24

Joint Strike Fighter costs are soaring - The F-35 project is plagued by cost overruns. But Ottawa says it’s insulated from sticker shock. by John Geddes on Wednesday, October 13, 2010

http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/10/13/cost ... aring-too/

"The suspension of test flights of Lockheed Martin’s new F-35 fighter jet early this month sounded like bad news for Canada. The federal government announced its plan last spring to buy 65 of the so-called Joint Strike Fighters, giving Ottawa a multi-billion-dollar vested interest in seeing the radar-evading airplane cruise smoothly to market. Yet the discovery of a fuel pump software problem—just the latest setback in the troubled F-35 program—apparently can’t translate into a price bump for Canada. “The Americans basically have been covering the cost overruns in the system design and development phase themselves,” Michael Slack, the Department of National Defence’s manager for the F-35 project, told Maclean’s.

The notion that Ottawa is in a position to shrug as Washington sweats over F-35 costs is arguably the most unexpected aspect of this controversial military procurement deal. The U.S. government has seen the projected cost of each F-35 it plans to buy soar from $50 million a few years ago to at least $92 million this fall, and well above $100 million by some recent estimates. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been aggressively managing the file lately in a bid to counter negative publicity. By contrast, his Canadian counterpart, Defence Minister Peter MacKay, has been sanguine throughout it all, saying Canada will pay a comparative bargain price of about $70 million per jet.

That deal sounds almost too good to be true. Yet Slack vows that’s the way it is. The dollar figure that ultimately matters to Canada, he says, is something called the “average unit flyaway cost.” As he explains it, that’s the narrowly calculated cost of manufacturing each F-35 in the years 2016 to 2022, when Canada negotiated for its 65 jets to be delivered. The price Canada has agreed to pay won’t include any of the pre-production costs now mounting. “The system design and development phase costs have mushroomed,” Slack says. “But the only thing that’s relevant to Canada is the average unit flyaway cost.”

The most up-to-date estimate of that manufacturing cost for a single F-35 is between $70 million and $75 million, according to the U.S. government. “The U.S. does a fairly good job of estimating what the unit costs are going to be,” Slack says. “What they don’t do a good job of is estimating the cost of research and development, and testing and evaluation, which is a tricky business when you’re dealing with sophisticated military equipment.”

Critics of the F-35 purchase question how the Conservative government can really be so sure there won’t be any sticker shock. “There’s no contract, so I don’t know how they can say that’s the price we’re going to get,” says Steven Staples, president of the Rideau Institute, a Ottawa-based research group whose analysis of government programs is often used by unions such as the Canadian Auto Workers. Like the opposition parties, Staples contends the government should have put the contract for new fighter jets out for competitive bids to ensure the lowest price, rather than taking the unusual step of sole-sourcing the purchase of Lockheed Martin’s fighter.

But Slack says the F-35 arrangement is solid and offers unique advantages. In 2002, Canada signed on to the Joint Strike Fighter partnership with the U.S., Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Australia, Denmark and Norway. By putting up $150 million at the outset, Canada essentially bought the right not to bear the burden of any future development costs. In the fall of 2012, Canada must, along with the other partners, put in a firm order for jets to be delivered in 2016. The final price to be paid to Lockheed Martin will be negotiated by a U.S.-led project office for the partner countries. One key variable is the number of jets sold—fewer than expected would raise the cost of each airplane, more sales would lower it.

Slack says the very real possibility of some partners deciding to buy fewer F-35s than originally planned is offset by the prospect of new customers placing orders. Of course, projecting demand for high-end defence hardware years in advance is tricky. It’s a safer bet that bringing that hardware to market will cost more than promised. In the unsual case of the F-35, though, that appears not to be Canada’s worry."
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Unread post15 Oct 2010, 19:25

Another photo of Mockup 'CF-35A' with Canadian Maple Leaf Tail:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lukeoldham/5015792851/
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Unread post17 Oct 2010, 21:33

A report released by the left-leaning Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says the multibillion-dollar purchase isn’t based on the country’s real needs. Liberal MPs agreed, saying they will kill the deal if they get the opportunity.

“The main point is that we have time and we need to change the way we think about our aircraft,” he said. “We don’t need them for bombing missions and there is no real Russian bomber threat.” He suggested Canada abandon the idea of using air power overseas and extend the life of the existing F-18 fleet for North American surveillance.


http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/arti ... icy-centre
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Unread post17 Oct 2010, 22:25

Interesting RETORT to ill-informed 'Canuckian Public' about F-35 choice. The canard about single-engine v double engine has been touted for so long I thought it was true. Go figure. :twisted:

F-35 jets right choice for Canada Published On Tue Aug 17 by Paul Manson & Angus Watt

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editoria ... cle/848664

"The announcement of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to replace the CF-18 has sparked a flurry of debate, some of it ill-informed. The most common misconceptions are listed below, together with our own response to these.

We don’t need a fighter aircraft. Canada has national interests to protect, and international responsibilities to fulfill. This will not change. The military remains a key instrument of national power, providing a clear demonstration that we take our obligations seriously, whether these involve protection of our sovereignty, peacekeeping operations, fighting terrorism and, yes, fighting a war if necessary. We need to equip our military properly to meet whatever challenges might arise in an uncertain and unpredictable future. The F-35 will serve until at least 2050, and probably beyond. Over that time, Canada will need an air force that can reasonably handle whatever risks and threats may appear. Like fire insurance for your house, you can’t buy it after the fact.

The F-35 has only one engine. Contrary to popular opinion, the CF-18 was not chosen because it had two engines. Even 30 years ago engine reliability was so good that this was not a significant factor in the selection of our current fighter. Since then, jet engine technology has evolved so much that a single-engine fighter is a viable choice for Canada.

We don’t need to replace the CF-18 until at least 2017. Why choose now? The 28-year-old CF-18 has recently been updated and will serve capably until 2017, beyond which serious structural problems will arise. A major aircraft purchase usually requires at least five years to complete; the F-35 contract, therefore, needs to be signed by 2012. It is not premature to start the process now.

The F-35 is too expensive. It is true that the F-35 represents a large defence investment. However, there are significant cost advantages due to the large customer base; at least 3,000 will be sold to a variety of countries. This mass production will reduce Canada’s cost, as will the sharing of the ongoing support costs among the partner nations. Moreover, purchasing aircraft as part of a large group of nations assures interoperability, an important military consideration. Our aerospace industries will also have the potential to compete for worldwide contracts to support this large fleet, providing thousands of high-tech jobs for many years. The return on Canada’s investment will be very impressive indeed.

Canada could get a better deal through open competition. In theory, an open competition might produce a cheaper contract. The reality is different in this particular case. Mergers of large aircraft companies and the huge start-up investments required to produce a modern fighter severely limit the choices. If there existed another fifth generation fighter with comparable capabilities and costs, within another broad international customer group, perhaps a valid competition could be run. Unfortunately, other potential candidates are fourth generation fighters nearing the end of their operational relevance or small-batch fifth generation aircraft having reduced capabilities. The F-35 manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, has been forced to ruthlessly control both production and support costs to satisfy its F-35 customers, many of whom would cancel their orders should the price become excessive. Furthermore, with so many international customers, F-35 pricing visibility will be very high indeed, assuring a fair price for Canada.

We firmly believe that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter represents the best choice for Canada. The government’s announcement should have included more of the rigorous expert analysis that went into its decision. Ultimately, as with the once-controversial CF-18 selection, Canadians will come to understand the correctness of the decision, and its importance for the future security of our nation.

Retired general Paul Manson is a former Chief of the Defence Staff. Earlier in his military career he was program manager for the CF-18 Acquisition. Retired lieutenant-general Angus Watt is a former Chief of the Air Staff and Commander of Canada’s Air Force who retired in 2009."
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Unread post18 Oct 2010, 05:31

Unfortunately, the opposition parties will takes jabs at the government for almost anything, and the F-35 contract is no exception. The public hasn't been properly "prepped" and the opposing political parties are screaming mad just to draw attention to themselves. I would LOVE to go on national TV with some of the gov't. critics and see how much research they've done.

What was Canada supposed to do? Gripens, Rafales, MIG's? Um....no.

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Unread post21 Oct 2010, 03:01

Did not realise that F-35 spare parts will be pooled world-wide. I guess the Logistics System takes care of a lot of hassle. Anyway here is more Canuck Sniping:

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada ... 71253.html

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION Posted: 20/10/2010
Critics raises alarm about future 'unknowns' in stealth fighter maintenance By: Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press

"OTTAWA - A potentially costly wrinkle has emerged in the Conservative government's plan to spend up to $16 billion on new stealth fighters.

Less than half of the eye-popping price tag — $7 billion — is set aside for support and maintenance of the highly complex F-35 Lightning II. And senior defence officials intend to roll that cost into the eventual purchase agreement instead of negotiating two separate contracts.

Defence experts warn it is a huge financial gamble, one that could lead to soaring costs — or force Ottawa to accept lesser service down the road.

The problem is that the new aircraft has no maintenance track record.

The federal government in the past separated actual purchase costs from support arrangements, and negotiated distinct contracts. But a senior defence official tells The Canadian Press the F-35 will be different.

"There will never be a (support) contract," said the official, who is allowed to speak only on background.

"It's under the (memorandum of understanding). All your support is under the (memorandum of understanding)."

Defence insiders say they believe they have enough to data to reliably predict the level of support the fighters will need.

"We have very detailed information and plans on the predictable pieces that would go in to a support, but we don't know the price of fuel that date, or the price of titanium or aluminum in 2025," said the source. "So, there's no specific dollar figure."

But critics such as Alan Williams, the Defence Department's former assistant deputy minister of material, are alarmed and wonder who will eat the inevitable cost overruns on an aircraft that will no doubt have its teething pains.

Williams said that if history is any guide, it won't be U.S. giant Lockheed Martin.

The last time Ottawa signed a sole-sourced deal with the company, the world's largest defence contractor, it waited to negotiate the support element for the C-130J Hercules — and was floored by the cost estimate. When the deal was finally inked, the air force had to settle for a seven-year maintenance program, not the usual 20 years.

Rolling everything in to one contract for the F-35 ups the pressure on negotiators and has disaster written all over it, said Williams.

"I don't think we ought to trust behind-the-scenes estimates and evaluations, all done under the table (and) not in the public eye before we spend $16 billion of our money," said Williams, who has demanded the government hold an open competition.

"How could you buy something with so many unknowns?"

Federal officials point out the actual contract won't be signed until 2014 and by that time Lockheed Martin will have more planes flying than the existing 19 test aircraft — fighters that will give them valuable maintenance data.

NDP defence critic Jack Harris demanded to know how the government will ensure that long-term costs don't explode. He said combining the two arrangements takes away Ottawa's negotiating leverage to get the best price.

He said the defence contractor may give up a little on the $75 million-per-plane price tag, but could easily make it up by padding maintenance estimates.

"It bothers me a lot because, you know, we're subject to whatever goes on inside Lockheed Martin and we've got no control over that," he said.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay last month told the House of Commons defence committee that the air force expected to spend $250 million a year — or about $5 billion over 20 years — on the maintenance deal. That's lower than some of the federal government's initial projections, and is what the air force currently spends to keep the existing fleet of CF-18s in the air.

Officials within the department say they expect to achieve savings because the stealth fighters' support arrangement will see all countries pool spare parts.

"We hope it is more efficient because you can leverage the global supply chain of 3,000 fighters in nine countries," said the official.

"Instead of (us) having to buy 10 sets of extra sets of spare landing gear, (we) can have one set and the global pool has nine and (we) get when (we) need it, but if (we) never need it (we) don't actually have to buy it."

Williams said when Ottawa signed to buy new helicopters for the navy, in 2004, it knew "to the penny" how much long-term maintenance would cost.

"Today when you're buying any piece of equipment, you're buying software," he said.

"In this particular jet, it's very sophisticated and that is very expensive to maintain. And all I'm saying is the taxpayer ought to know what he's in for before we commit to something."
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Unread post29 Oct 2010, 23:30

Talking F-35s with a former head of the air force by John Geddes on Friday, October 29, 2010

http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/10/29/talk ... air-force/

"Lieutenant-General Angus Watt retired about a year ago as chief of air staff in the Canadian Forces. That gives him a particular vantage point on the government’s plan to spend about $16 billion to buy and maintain 65 F-35 fighter jets—close enough to know the details, but a bit detached from the ferocious debate that’s erupted over the sole-sourced procurement.

Not surprisingly, Watt is a big fan of the Lockheed Martin jet, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter. He’s a sharp critic, though, of the job the federal government is doing selling the deal to the Canadian public. This is an edited version of his conversation with me earlier this week about the controversial F-35 project.

Q. Do you think the F-35 arrangement as it now stands makes sense for Canada?

A. I do. It’s the best of all the available choices. It provides the best value for money, the best platform to address the security needs of Canada through to 2050, which is probably how long we’ll have this airplane.

Q. I’ll come back to why you think it’s the best jet. But you mention best value for money. We usually make sure of that by holding a competitive bidding process. Why not do so in this case?

A. That’s a good question. I’m not personally opposed to a competition. But the circumstances of a competition would be difficult to manage. There aren’t a lot of competitors, apart from the F-35. In fact, it’s questionable if there are any.

Q. So if we had a proper competitive process, wouldn’t the F-35 be the clear front-runner or even the only bidder?

A. What happens then, and I’ve seen this before in other aircraft programs, is when the government specifies [its requirements] and it turns out that only one aircraft is even close to meeting them, then the other, lesser competitors will start to attack the specifications. Rather than competing the aircraft, they compete the specifications. Then we end up in a big debate about whether we need fifth-generation technology, sensors, all that sort of equipment, rather than competing on the basis of the available aircraft.

Q. For which aircraft purchase has disputing the specs become the issue?

A. Fixed-wing search and rescue. It has paralyzed the department.

Q. But how can we know that all those specifications the F-35 apparently meets—the attributes of a so-called fifth-generation fighter—are really what Canada needs?

A. The Department of National Defence, I know, did a very extensive analysis—not a true competition, I understand—of all the available platforms. It clearly showed the F-35 was head and shoulders above all the other ones. If they wanted to run a competition, fine. But I’m worried about that matter of attacking the specifications.

Q. On the need for a new fighter jet, some critics have pointed to the government’s emphasis on patroling the Arctic as an outmoded Cold War preoccupation. Isn’t the threat of Russian bombers long past?

A. One of the problems is that the government has not had a very good communications strategy here. They essentially went out with the announcement, with very few details, and asked everybody to accept it. I personally have seen the work that underpins the project and I know they have a very good outline of what capabilities are needed. There is enough of a package to show the Canadian people what the needs of Canadian security are for the next 30 or 40 years.

Q. And what are those needs?

A. It’s not just the NORAD need of chasing aging Soviet bombers in the Arctic. That’s a very narrow view. Canada’s interests are global. Our prosperity and security come from our engagement around the world. You can’t just draw a line around North America and say, ‘We’re not going to participate in any security operations outside those borders, but we’re certainly going to take economic advantage of that security in order to gain prosperity for our nation.’

So [without new fighter jets] when NATO decides to intervene—like they did in Kosovo the late nineties, and did a bombing campaign with our F-18s participating—we would not be able to participate. To me that undermines our credibility and our influence. Other nations, our allies and our potential foes, notice. Participating in an alliance of like-minded nations under the rubric of UN or NATO is very much in our security interests.

Q. And exactly how does the F-35 fit into that sort of scenario?

A. If we send our troops abroad on some operation in the future, I don’t think it’s good enough to say, ‘Well, we’ll send our troops over there, but we’re not going to provide air support because some other nation will.’

Q. Is the Afghanistan experience one of the reasons we haven’t heard a lot about the F-35?s capability to providing close air support for ground troops engaged in counter-insurgency fighting? I’m thinking of how using air strikes in Afghanistan has become very controversial because of civilian casualties.

A. I spent six months in Afghanistan as deputy commander for air. I was essentially the air component commander for ISAF in 2006. I can tell you that air power saves soldiers’ lives. There is a good case to be made but it just hasn’t been made.

Q. You don’t hear the Conservative government making that case now?

A. Overall communications have been weak. But we’ve seen that before with the government. They are very parsimonious, shall we say, with their communications. We need a rigorous debate. We need to hash it out in public.

Q. Let’s say the case for new jet fighters was more compellingly established. Wouldn’t that still leave open the option of buying a cheaper, less cutting-edge fighter than the F-35, one that’s already on the market?

A. The F-35 gives us a jet at the beginning of its technological life span. If you buy a jet at the end of its life span, that means in five to ten years it’s going to be obsolete. That means you’re going to have to try to add technology and that’s really tough. The growth potential, the ability to evolve this jet over the next 30-40 years, far surpasses anything else on the market.

Q. There are defence analysts who say the really technologically advanced idea would be to shift to relying more on pilotless drones. What about that option?

A. It’s not there yet. There’s going to be one more generation of manned fighters, carrying through to 2030, 2040. The technology is not mature enough yet for what we call UCAVs—Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles.

Q. There’s another line of criticism—that the F-35 is a basically an expensive toy, and Canada just doesn’t need a cool stealth fighter.

A. Stealth is not some voodoo technology that lets you go in and willy-nilly take over Third World nations at will. It simply allows the pilot to survive. It isn’t necessary for every mission, but for some. For instance, reconnaissance. They can go quietly into territory, undetected, and come back safely. Or they can do a mission like the Kosovo bombing campaign, where there was a fairly sophisticated air defence system, and come back completely safely.

Q. A final question. The F-35 purchase, if it goes ahead, will be hugely expensive. Even if it’s the best choice among fighter jets, isn’t there a strong argument that, in a time of spending restraint, Canada could make more practical use of other new equipment, like icebreakers or those search and rescue planes?

A. That’s a false dilemma, one often posed about military spending. If you do this, you preclude that. One of the key elements that the military struggles with is to preserve a balance in all areas. Having an incredible capability in the air, while denuding the army and sinking the navy, doesn’t work. There’s a whole range of programs that seek to maintain that balance. In the planning cycle, there is that balance, and buying these fighters does not preclude those other things."
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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