Canada May Back Out of F-35 Purchase: Minister

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johnwill

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Unread post12 Jan 2013, 18:26

neurotech wrote:
johnwill wrote:Block 30 did include some strengthening, following a block 25 static test failure in the wing. However an overall structural redesign was done for block 40, to catch up with all the previous weight increases and the Lantirn installation. The intent was there for early F-16 air to ground, but actual usage was more severe than designed for, usage meaning heavier weapons loading, higher speeds, higher g. Not higher than design limit, but a higher spectrum of occurrences. The original mission spectrum was 60% air to ground, 40% air to air.

Thats what I thought, except for being mistaken about Block 30 vs 40 structural changes. I don't know what the structural requirements would be for Block 70 jets are, but I thought it was pitched as an upgrade option for predominantly Block 15/20 MLU jets. Do you think if they took a Block 30 jet out of the boneyard, rebuilt it with structural upgrades to match Block 40/50 jets, could they get another 3000+ hours out of those jets, as F-16V 70s? Cheaper than a Gripen E rebuild too.


Block 40 was a complete redesign, not just a local strengthening, so to bring block 30 up to that standard would be a significant task. It could be done, of course, but I have no clue what it would cost or how many hours of service could be obtained.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post12 Jan 2013, 20:10

geogen wrote:bumtish, I was saying that after conclusion of a hypothetical short-term 8-10 yr Gripen C/D+ Lease, RCAF could return said 'new-build' Gripen as 'relatively young, new-build' jets which Sweden/SAAB could then likely sell on the open market for remainder of service life. Maybe a Hungary, Czk or SA would even pick them up by the early/mid 20s to augment or replace attrition a/c, etc, just as a Chile or Jordan acquires well-used F-16s to augment their fleets today.

If you're suggesting that by the early to mid-20s, there will be no market for something along the lines of a relatively young, updated C/D+ airframe, I'd highly disagree with you.


How many aircraft are we talking here?
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neurotech

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Unread post12 Jan 2013, 22:06

I got flamed earlier by a few people for suggesting that Canada negotiate to get older F/A-18Fs from the USN, upgrade them, and fly them.
That way the USN gets the new jets at a discount, to replace the old ones, and Canada gets F/A-18Fs at a discount off new price. If the F/A-18E/F purchases get extended (some sources indicate this happened in NDAA 2013, but if that actually equates to more jets, or just funding existing commitment, I'm not 100% sure). Another option would be to see if some of the Navy F/A-18Cs could be EDA'd for Canada. If the F-35B and C stays on track, and MYP 2015+ F/A-18E/F jets are purchased by the USN, then it becomes a possibility.

This is somewhat close to what happened with the F-16As, because of performance benefits of the F-16C, and political considerations, some quite serviceable jets got sent to the boneyard. Some of these jets have been sold to other countries, or leased out. A handful of F-16A/Bs have been sent to defense contractors.
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alloycowboy

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Unread post12 Jan 2013, 23:24

neurotech wrote:I got flamed earlier by a few people for suggesting that Canada negotiate to get older F/A-18Fs from the USN, upgrade them, and fly them.
That way the USN gets the new jets at a discount, to replace the old ones, and Canada gets F/A-18Fs at a discount off new price. If the F/A-18E/F purchases get extended (some sources indicate this happened in NDAA 2013, but if that actually equates to more jets, or just funding existing commitment, I'm not 100% sure). Another option would be to see if some of the Navy F/A-18Cs could be EDA'd for Canada. If the F-35B and C stays on track, and MYP 2015+ F/A-18E/F jets are purchased by the USN, then it becomes a possibility.

This is somewhat close to what happened with the F-16As, because of performance benefits of the F-16C, and political considerations, some quite serviceable jets got sent to the boneyard. Some of these jets have been sold to other countries, or leased out. A handful of F-16A/Bs have been sent to defense contractors.


I am sure Canada could also get some old F-4's and Mig-21's too while were at it!
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llc

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Unread post12 Jan 2013, 23:42

Canada's option review will only have one of three outcomes:

1- Select something other than the F-35, and retire the CF-18 in accordance with the expected ELE (NLT 2020)
2- Select the F-35 and it's delayed delivery dates (for a given capability) and upgrade the current CF-18 fleet to keep them relevant/capable until 2022-25
3- Select the F-35 and have it delivered on the required timeline to retire the CF-18 by 2020, and accept that the F-35 blocks that will be delivered initially will have substantial operational deficiencies until they are cycled back through the upgrade process.

There are many opinions on this forum that suggest that the F-35 is or is not the correct aircraft for Canada. The aircraft is capable, and would undoubtably suffice for what Canada uses its fighter force for, but so would the Gripen NG, the Rafale, the Super Hornet, a new-build F-15 etc etc. The issue with the F-35 is that Canada, and most other small but modern western air forces, put all of it's eggs in this basket and now due to LM's misguided belief in concurrency, and the US government's significant lack of oversight of the program progression until recently, is caught between a rock and a hard place.
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neurotech

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Unread post13 Jan 2013, 00:23

llc wrote:Canada's option review will only have one of three outcomes:

1- Select something other than the F-35, and retire the CF-18 in accordance with the expected ELE (NLT 2020)
2- Select the F-35 and it's delayed delivery dates (for a given capability) and upgrade the current CF-18 fleet to keep them relevant/capable until 2022-25
3- Select the F-35 and have it delivered on the required timeline to retire the CF-18 by 2020, and accept that the F-35 blocks that will be delivered initially will have substantial operational deficiencies until they are cycled back through the upgrade process.

Yes, 3 basic choices.

Do you think buying additional F/A-18A/Cs (assuming they are in better overall condition) would be a benefit to Canada?
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hb_pencil

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Unread post13 Jan 2013, 02:08

llc wrote:Canada's option review will only have one of three outcomes:

1- Select something other than the F-35, and retire the CF-18 in accordance with the expected ELE (NLT 2020)
2- Select the F-35 and it's delayed delivery dates (for a given capability) and upgrade the current CF-18 fleet to keep them relevant/capable until 2022-25
3- Select the F-35 and have it delivered on the required timeline to retire the CF-18 by 2020, and accept that the F-35 blocks that will be delivered initially will have substantial operational deficiencies until they are cycled back through the upgrade process.


Actually this is fundamentally incorrect in several ways. First the options analysis is really an F-35 OR exercise. The option will be either continue with the program or run a full new competition. Really this replicates how DND undertook its analysis in 2006~2010.

Second, the F-35 delivered after 2018 should meet the KPPs. I'm not sure what "substantial operational deficiencies" you're referring to, but the aircraft will be of the block 3 standard with most of its capabilities originally envisioned included.

llc wrote:There are many opinions on this forum that suggest that the F-35 is or is not the correct aircraft for Canada. The aircraft is capable, and would undoubtably suffice for what Canada uses its fighter force for, but so would the Gripen NG, the Rafale, the Super Hornet, a new-build F-15 etc etc. The issue with the F-35 is that Canada, and most other small but modern western air forces, put all of it's eggs in this basket and now due to LM's misguided belief in concurrency, and the US government's significant lack of oversight of the program progression until recently, is caught between a rock and a hard place.



Actually Canada and other partner states are the biggest beneficiaries of concurrency and the "all in one basket" approach. It will allow the Canada to buy aircraft early on in the program's life at costs that represent the most efficient level of production. Without concurrency, Canada would need to wait until 2025 or later to reach that point... or sucked it up and paid $100+million per copy. Without a tri-service fighter, it would have probably waited until 2028, if at all.
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pushoksti

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Unread post13 Jan 2013, 07:43

llc wrote:Canada's option review will only have one of three outcomes:

1- Select something other than the F-35, and retire the CF-18 in accordance with the expected ELE (NLT 2020)
2- Select the F-35 and it's delayed delivery dates (for a given capability) and upgrade the current CF-18 fleet to keep them relevant/capable until 2022-25
3- Select the F-35 and have it delivered on the required timeline to retire the CF-18 by 2020, and accept that the F-35 blocks that will be delivered initially will have substantial operational deficiencies until they are cycled back through the upgrade process.

There are many opinions on this forum that suggest that the F-35 is or is not the correct aircraft for Canada. The aircraft is capable, and would undoubtably suffice for what Canada uses its fighter force for, but so would the Gripen NG, the Rafale, the Super Hornet, a new-build F-15 etc etc. The issue with the F-35 is that Canada, and most other small but modern western air forces, put all of it's eggs in this basket and now due to LM's misguided belief in concurrency, and the US government's significant lack of oversight of the program progression until recently, is caught between a rock and a hard place.


I find it hard to believe how any rational or intelligent person with a basic understanding of the industry can suggest the Gripen NG. Its going to cost more, be far less capable than the F-35 and is years if not a decade away from reaching IOC, that is IF it makes it into test flight phase. People are suggesting ludicrous and downright stupid alternatives to the F-35. This is why governments hire and listen to professionals and not some brochure-reading gamers.
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geogen

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Unread post13 Jan 2013, 15:14

Bottom line, a review of options will present the best possible case for RCAF/Canada in making a more prudent and strategically calculated decision going forward given the changing developments and uncertainties.
Last edited by geogen on 13 Jan 2013, 15:26, edited 1 time in total.
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geogen

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Unread post13 Jan 2013, 15:19

Hey Push -

perhaps go a little more easy on calling critics in general ludicrous and stupid in their suggestions that Canada/RCAF have made serious miscalculations and highly risky assumptions from inception RCAF's CF-18 recap strategy. Eh?

We're all here to debate and discuss the issues out in the open, critically, for the better. No need to come out with know-it-all sounding attitude and inflammatory prejudice against critics just because you disagree with them.

-----------

hb_

With all respect, probably more than anyone, you have had claimed others to have been 'fundamentally' incorrect with respect to critical assessments made on Canada's original calculations and expectations on CF-35's acquisition process. Yet even while Govt/DND/RCAF has been forced by one default or another to accept reality of continuing 'revisions' to the originally expected recap plan, you apparently refuse to admit any such miscalculation yourself and refuse to accept that ongoing or future further revisions are most likely. To have to adjust numerous times over the past 2,3,4 years alone in making 'refinements' to previous assumptions/expectations on the evolving official Canadian Plan that be, does not put you in a necessarily good position to jump on critics of said original Canadian F-35 expectations.

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neuro -

I don't think it should be assumed that older USN F-18C/D would be in better shape than CF-18s and thus could be bought 2nd hand by RCAF as a stopgap. Keep in mind that USN Hornets themselves are expecting or would require some form of SLEP certification and/or upgrade themselves in order to remain credible as an extended-stopgap option to delayed/uncertain F-35C acquisition. If however, Canada would decide in the end to make expensive and strategic investments in further CF-18 SLEP and further upgrade to keep the legacy fleet credible for an extended period due to recap uncertainty and delays, etc, perhaps then a dozen or two USN Hornets also requiring SLEP/upgrade could hypothetically be transferred to augment a Life extended CF-18 force structure? I'd personally doubt that scenario, but who knows. Most likely it would be a new-build CF-18E/F buy or Lease, if going with a Hornet family.

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llc -

Interesting post and it's probably a fairly well assessed 3-case scenario or some variation of those 3 options at least, which Canada will end up taking. I might differ w/ your position a little though in expecting Canada to eventually receive a delayed, operational yet 'deficient' block III example, but it's probably a fair assessment to factor in a more expensive and further delayed follow-on block IV and eventual block V upgrade compared to original and current expectations... imho.
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neurotech

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Unread post13 Jan 2013, 20:05

geogen wrote:neuro -

I don't think it should be assumed that older USN F-18C/D would be in better shape than CF-18s and thus could be bought 2nd hand by RCAF as a stopgap. Keep in mind that USN Hornets themselves are expecting or would require some form of SLEP certification and/or upgrade themselves in order to remain credible as an extended-stopgap option to delayed/uncertain F-35C acquisition. If however, Canada would decide in the end to make expensive and strategic investments in further CF-18 SLEP and further upgrade to keep the legacy fleet credible for an extended period due to recap uncertainty and delays, etc, perhaps then a dozen or two USN Hornets also requiring SLEP/upgrade could hypothetically be transferred to augment a Life extended CF-18 force structure? I'd personally doubt that scenario, but who knows. Most likely

@Geogen: I've personally witnessed F-16s and F/A-18s pulled from the boneyard and flown successfully, safely, and relatively cheaply. One "issue" we had was how to budget for it. We sidestepped the issue by saying "We need a chase jet for x hours, usually 300-1000 hrs" and NAVAIR would approve a budget for "operations". We could get away with that for a few jets, but not for a significant number. One of those jets spent 1000+ hours at Fallon, and another was loaned to NASA when we were done with them, but I doubt they ever went back on a carrier.

In my recent reply, I was alluding that "trap life" can effect their ability to serve in the USN fleet, and its hard to justify large scale SLEP for jets which is not cleared for carrier deployment. Also, maintenance on the carrier is a factor. We could get away with some repairs in a test group, that would get deferred at best, on a carrier. This was a factor in the VFA-106 crash. Squadron "Maintenance Control" on the carrier deferred too much of the maintenance/repairs, with the loss of a jet and 4 lives on the ground.

Some USN F/A-18As were considered too costly to upgrade in the early 90s, but were later refurbished for the USMC, without insane costs or major safety risks.

Since the RCAF generally doesn't operate off carriers (and they fly USN jets on exchange when they do), "trap life" isn't a big factor. Its quite possible that adding a few more EDA/SLEP jets to the RCAF might be a benefit, in terms of reducing load on squadron maintenance staff.

@pushoksti: I remember you didn't like the suggestion of F/A-18Fs, but do you think buying EDA F/A-18A/Cs would be a benefit, from your perspective? I do believe the F-35A is the best jet for its intended role, without getting into hypothetical BS of a CF-22 Raptor or something.
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Unread post13 Jan 2013, 20:48

neurotech wrote:I've personally witnessed F-16s and F/A-18s pulled from the boneyard and flown successfully, safely, and relatively cheaply.....

Some USN F/A-18As were considered too costly to upgrade in the early 90s, but were later refurbished for the USMC, without insane costs or major safety risks....


Are there any F/A-18Cs in storage? I thought only -As were stored. I do know that Spain acquired a number of "retired" -As from Arizona to bridge the gap when the Eurofighter was delayed. (Note that these jets were not used going to be used for carrier ops)
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Unread post13 Jan 2013, 22:30

maus92 wrote:
neurotech wrote:I've personally witnessed F-16s and F/A-18s pulled from the boneyard and flown successfully, safely, and relatively cheaply.....

Some USN F/A-18As were considered too costly to upgrade in the early 90s, but were later refurbished for the USMC, without insane costs or major safety risks....


Are there any F/A-18Cs in storage? I thought only -As were stored. I do know that Spain acquired a number of "retired" -As from Arizona to bridge the gap when the Eurofighter was delayed. (Note that these jets were not used going to be used for carrier ops)

They are not showing on the normal AMARC inventory, but there are other places they send F/A-18s than AMARC while still keeping them safe from corrosion.

From what I recall, its mainly A models. There are a few C models, with exceeded trap life limits, and few with hard landing damage. A lot of A models were sent to the boneyard before the center barrel program started. We did get a C and a D model that had fire damage in the engine bay wiring. On paper it was not a class A mishap, but it was close to the $1m cap. Its debatable how much the "damage" cost to repair, but the SLEP bill wasn't cheap (~$4m each) that included almost complete rewiring the jet, and a refurbished main fuel tanks, surprisingly the center barrels were in reasonable shape, other structural repairs were made as needed. AFAIK the jets are still with VX-31.

A recurring fuel leak with possible major electrical issues in a jet, is enough for a CAG to send a jet to the boneyard, even without a class A mishap. I would assume that the CO & CAG, decided the fallout from a jet sent to the boneyard, was minimal in comparison to a Class A mishap.
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Unread post13 Jan 2013, 22:33

This is just a really dumb conversation beause if you pulled a fighter out of mothballs you would have to put it through a serious upgrade and referbishment program. The upgrade program would be so expensive it would not make economic sense. You would be better off just purchasing the F-35 already.

As for the Gripen NG it appears headed for the chopping block.

Gripen NG doomed by "exit clause" ?

http://defenceforumindia.com/forum/military-aviation/42245-gripen-ng-doomed-exit-clause.html
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Unread post13 Jan 2013, 22:56

alloycowboy wrote:You would be better off just purchasing the F-35 already.


Pretty much this.

There is no point in messing around with second-hand jets that will need significant upgrades and inspections just so they can fly for a few more years. Its a waste of money. Fly the CF-18s we have now and retire them once the CF-35 comes into the squadrons. Its the most logical solution.
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