Canada May Back Out of F-35 Purchase: Minister

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XanderCrews

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Unread post13 Jan 2013, 22:58

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)


Thats a good question, I know the USN gave a lot of excess F-18s to the jarheads who have them but aren't necessarily using them at all because they are rather beat up, and they have their minds on other things. The question is if they are safe and economically viable to upgrade... even then do they become a permanent solution, or does it just buy Canada 10 more years? wouldn't the Canadians just spend the money to directly upgrade the hornets they already have? If it was a permanent solution, they would be the only country still operating the older F-18 in future conflicts correct?
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Unread post13 Jan 2013, 23:01

alloycowboy wrote: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.

The cost of such a program would probably be < $10m a jet for refurb costs for F/A-18A/Cs. Capability upgrades, well thats anyones guess, but F-16 Block 20 MLU jets were around $20m each, from what I remember.

The above conversation is about a stop-gap until Canada can buy F-35s or whatever, at an economically, and politically suitable time.

@maus92: Just to clarify, if the RCAF got a F/A-18Cs they would most likely be jets the USN EDA after swapping for F/A-18Es. This assumes they do extend production in FY2014 or even MYP 2015+, while F-35B/C production ramps up. Sending those F/A-18Cs to the USMC is not a zero cost option, so they could still be EDA F/A-18Cs.
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Unread post13 Jan 2013, 23:16

alloycowboy wrote: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


That is a pretty interesting article. I think the Gripen NG is probably in a fair amount of trouble. It is a late to the party version of Eurofighter/Rafale that runs on a US engines and really brings nothing new to the party. If it can compete anywhere it will be based almost wholly on its ability to offer industrial development assistance. But I have to think that will be limited by who the US says can have full access to its engines.

Brazil might want it, but they would want to build their own copies I think and they would fart around so long that it would likely never really fly. I just don't have any confidence in them actually making a decision and sticking with it.
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Unread post13 Jan 2013, 23:19

XanderCrews wrote:Thats a good question, I know the USN gave a lot of excess F-18s to the jarheads who have them but aren't necessarily using them at all because they are rather beat up, and they have their minds on other things. The question is if they are safe and economically viable to upgrade... even then do they become a permanent solution, or does it just buy Canada 10 more years? wouldn't the Canadians just spend the money to directly upgrade the hornets they already have? If it was a permanent solution, they would be the only country still operating the older F-18 in future conflicts correct?

As mentioned in my other reply. Sending them to "jarheads" still costs money for refurbishment, if they are going to the USMC, those funds come from a very different source than if they went to the RCAF. The USMC do use their F/A-18Cs from the Navy, but are avoiding major SLEP work so there is room in the budget for enough F-35Bs to replace the AV-8Bs and F/A-18As.

I do not know with 100% certainty what the condition of the CF-18s is, but I'd assume its a "cost" issue. They could bring more jets into operational service again, but it costs money to refurbish them.

10 years would be at the top end of this stop-gap program. The problem with the Gripen and pretty much anything but a F-35 or F/A-18E/F is that 2-3 smaller air forces can't afford the development costs a program that will probably wont crack the 100 jet mark.

@bigjku: I'm guessing Brazil will go for the F/A-18E/F Block II/III jets. As funny as it sounds, I could see Boeing offering a sweetener to get them to commit by FY2014. Buy 10+ jets this year and get 10% discount.
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Unread post14 Jan 2013, 00:09

neurotech wrote:
XanderCrews wrote:Thats a good question, I know the USN gave a lot of excess F-18s to the jarheads who have them but aren't necessarily using them at all because they are rather beat up, and they have their minds on other things. The question is if they are safe and economically viable to upgrade... even then do they become a permanent solution, or does it just buy Canada 10 more years? wouldn't the Canadians just spend the money to directly upgrade the hornets they already have? If it was a permanent solution, they would be the only country still operating the older F-18 in future conflicts correct?

As mentioned in my other reply. Sending them to "jarheads" still costs money for refurbishment, if they are going to the USMC, those funds come from a very different source than if they went to the RCAF. The USMC do use their F/A-18Cs from the Navy, but are avoiding major SLEP work so there is room in the budget for enough F-35Bs to replace the AV-8Bs and F/A-18As.

I do not know with 100% certainty what the condition of the CF-18s is, but I'd assume its a "cost" issue. They could bring more jets into operational service again, but it costs money to refurbish them.

10 years would be at the top end of this stop-gap program. The problem with the Gripen and pretty much anything but a F-35 or F/A-18E/F is that 2-3 smaller air forces can't afford the development costs a program that will probably wont crack the 100 jet mark.

@bigjku: I'm guessing Brazil will go for the F/A-18E/F Block II/III jets. As funny as it sounds, I could see Boeing offering a sweetener to get them to commit by FY2014. Buy 10+ jets this year and get 10% discount.


I was told by someone in the navy that the jarheads had been given "more hornets than they could crash in a lifetime" so maybe we are just mis communicating neurotech but we are i agreement. They have them, but they aren't doing anything with them.
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Unread post14 Jan 2013, 01:55

hb_pencil wrote:
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.


HB,
My three options are not fundamentally incorrect. The F-35 options analysis is not a F-35 or something else review, it is a review of the current Canadian program to purchase the F-35. If your "or else" option is selected, the F-35 will still be considered, as well as likely the Super Hornet, Rafale, Eurofighter, and perhaps the Gripen NG, and the winner will be a completely new program. That does not imply that if the review does not select your "or else" option, that the current Canadian F-35 program continues unchanged.

With regards to concurrency, it is a concept primarily favouring the manufacturer by allowing it to start making money sooner. It was not implemented to facilitate the purchaser. The issues with concurrency were identified very early on in the program (almost 8 years ago) and it was only negligence or incompetence on the part of the program overseers within DOD, and the smaller participant nations, that prevented them from demanding a change or planning for contingencies. Concurrency and other development issues have contributed to close to 6 years of program delays, resulting in very expensive alternatives for countries such as Canada. The CF-18 is planned through to 2020, and unless the ELE is extended, there will be no more updating, modernization, or extension. You correctly state that Block 3 will be available to Canada starting in 2018, unfortunately that is too late to ensure complete CF-18 replacement by 2020. This is the justification for my outcomes 2 or 3 in my original post.

Push,

Careful reading of my original post will reveal that I did not recommend any of the outcomes, or any platform in particular. Your reply with character adjectives regarding the perceived recommendation of the Gripen NG is just tabloid-ish.

For the record, my personal choice as the operator is for an aircraft that can be delivered on time, within specs, at a reasonable cost, that allows us to perform the missions outlined in the Canada First defence strategy. Should the RCAF F-35 IOC dates continue to be pushed to the right due to program issues, my next best choice would be for F-18E/Fs block 3 with 414 EPE engines. This would not delay the F-35 purchase but replace it, and Canada would be required to look at it's options in the 2035 timeframe.
If this option is not chosen, then a CF-18 upgrade, perhaps 40 aircraft or so, with a AESA, modernized EW, weapons and structure. The rest would continue unmodernized, would be used solely for NORAD duties, and the remaining airframe life babied to allow the 2-standard CF-18 fleet to operate effectively to 2025. This would allow the purchase of the F-35 with all of the bugs ironed out, several block upgrades behind it, and serve Canada well as potentially its last manned fighter.
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Unread post14 Jan 2013, 04:47

Neuro -

Very interesting reading and insights with respect to past and existing US legacy Hornet status, thanks. But as others have also alluded (and I believe as you did as well), one could assess that any hypothetical transfer of USN F-18C to RCAF to augment their stopgap contingencies (assuming USN decides on further new-build F-18E/F acquisition options as a stopgap contingency) would still require of RCAF/DND substantial SLEP and capability upgrade budgets/investments - hence, part of the unexpected 'expensive' part of the recap equation. Such a requirement could be expected to push said hypothetical USN-adopted CF-18s beyond the 2020 timeframe and likely well into the mid-20s to maintain future operations as a credible tactical platform. Moreover, that approach arguably adds to the already risky recap policy. Important to consider too, is that according to USMC top brass reportedly, their Hornets need to be replaced 'urgently', as they too would apparently require significant, expensive and risky upgrading if life-extended. Keep pushing reliance and dependence of upgrading and Life-extending of the existing geriatric platforms 'to-the-right' too and it could potentially be a recipe for a flawed and inadequate recap strategy.

llC -

All very relevant and interesting perspectives and analysis. I'd be curious of your opinion too with respect to any hypothetical F-18E/F 'LEASE' option, say short-term 8-10 years, as a further stopgap option? Could it be a less risky alternative to relying on 'Expensive' Life-extending and upgrading of existing CF-18 force structure which would be assumed to be replaced seamlessly starting in the early 2020s and concluded by the mid to later 20s?

I concur w/ you though, that if there's a solid cost-effective replacement strategy in place to begin by say, around 2019 and concluded by 2025-2026, then the Hornet upgrade and SLEP could be justified and better risk-managed.

But what if things further slip and unexpected shortfalls in either the replacement-end or the stopgap upgrade-end further surface in the equation? At least with a 'new-build' Lease, there might be more contingency options to fall back on if a few more years time in the recap implementation are needed to be bought?

Regardless, I fully agree with you with regards to the unfortunate and tragic 'Concurrency' reality and flawed acquisition reality in staying-the-course this long without contingencies, will likely present RCAF/DND with far more expensive than ever expected replacement costs and national Defence risks.
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Unread post14 Jan 2013, 09:55

geogen wrote:
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.


I think the issue here is that I do have insight into what went on in the earlier iteration of the program. I also have a long view of how the Canadian procurement system operates. This isn't the first program I've examined... not by a long shop. Furthermore, you and others (except some of the Canadians) have never really looked into Canada's situation. We have unique needs and discussions.I think this has led many to use the media as your primary source of information... who have a limited and biased understanding of the issues involved.

The reason why I "refuse to admit" there is a miscalculation, is that there hasn't been one on the policy side. I ask what has changed so dramatically since 2010? The cost estimates made by the government were pretty close... There was a 10% increase in the unit prices but that was covered by the contingency (I predicted this.) However much of the "controversy" is based around extending the future costs from DND's normal practice of 20 years to 40+ years. This is a terrible decision in my view. DND has unique considerations. Predicting costs for other government capital purchases is much easier; most are either static pieces long term equipment (infrastructure) or have much shorter lives (computers, vehicles). It doesn't even make sense in accounting terms, because it extends beyond the department's amortization period.

If there was "a mistake", it was not to run a full competition. However that would of yielded the same result as the options analysis run in 2006~2008 and in 2010. Really this is an optics issue, that surrounds Politics.... not a failing of the bureaucracy or the process itself. There are plenty of "bad" Canadian military procurement programs; the Cyclone, the Chinook, and the Upholder/Victoria. However in many ways the F-35 isn't/wasn't one of those. It avoided some of the worst aspects of Canadian defence procurement by taking it out of the government's hands.

What I think grates me on this is that you claim to know better, with so little basis to do so. Your recent statement that "I should be prepared for anything" illustrates that perfectly. What is that besides a useless aphorism? Do you have some expertise or insight here that we don't know about? The secretariat has terms of reference that guide its operations. It has military and procurement advisors, which have views which are somewhat well known. The government has imposed a hard $9 billion dollar acquisitions cap (That's a huge consideration, which will eliminate everything but the F-35 and F/A-18E unless Dassault or Cassadian wants to take a huge loss). So it is possible to have a good sense of what might occur. Is it possible they might go to phase three and ask for a competitive tender? Sure, absolutely. However the terms of reference, and the previous discussions with the manufacturers does not bode well for that outcome, particularly after the KPMG report.

So there you have it. I've evaluated all the information in front of me and that is my view. I can completely see that they might chose another option. However I really don't think it will. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. But I don't think I will be.
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Unread post14 Jan 2013, 11:27

llc wrote:HB,
My three options are not fundamentally incorrect. The F-35 options analysis is not a F-35 or something else review, it is a review of the current Canadian program to purchase the F-35. If your "or else" option is selected, the F-35 will still be considered, as well as likely the Super Hornet, Rafale, Eurofighter, and perhaps the Gripen NG, and the winner will be a completely new program. That does not imply that if the review does not select your "or else" option, that the current Canadian F-35 program continues unchanged.


I think we agree on this... which may have been based on a misunderstanding of your initial post. Just to clarify, the Secretariat is in a three phased approach. We're in phase two with the options analysis. This is not a tender as called for in AIT or GCRs; best example of that is that there is no MERX tender. Rather this phase will help determine Canadian government policy going forward... in phase three. To select another fighter the government will need to run a new competition.

Where I somewhat disagree with you is whether the F-35 program will be changed even if it is selected. The nature of the partnership basically limits how Canada can change its participation. Really its a question of when and how much we buy at this stage (unless we want to pay for canada-specific modifications.)


llc wrote:With regards to concurrency, it is a concept primarily favouring the manufacturer by allowing it to start making money sooner. It was not implemented to facilitate the purchaser. The issues with concurrency were identified very early on in the program (almost 8 years ago) and it was only negligence or incompetence on the part of the program overseers within DOD, and the smaller participant nations, that prevented them from demanding a change or planning for contingencies.


Several issues First concurrency is not a concept that is intended just to make money for the manufacturer... that's a really simplistic and incorrect view of things. Rather its justified based on two objectives:

First it assists the manufacturer refine the production process before committing to full production, ensuring that it can deliver efficiently once that decision occurs. Second, LRIP allows the military to obtain near production standard examples that they can begin to design their training, maintenance and operational doctrine. The process can also identify potential issues and problems overlooked by the flight test program... which is what is happening now, but it was initially not a major objective.

Concurrency was implemented for these reasons... particularly given the AF's and Navy's wish to rapidly recapitalize their fleets. However it was not the cause of the program's failings, rather it was a symptom of other problems in my view. As the GAO has suggested in several instances (and rand in their Report on Root Causes for Nunn McCurdy breaches Vol. 1 ) the program had unrealistic cost schedules and risk. The military and the contractor vastly underestimated some of the program's challenges... key among them was starting on design work with many of the enabling technologies knowledge not sufficiently developed before they started on design work. Then there were the costly redesigns (like the bomb bay size, and weight reduction efforts) that caused major issues. They also didn't have a proper prototype to work off... the demonstrator was not sufficient given the capabilities and design growth that occurred after 2001.

However most of those issues emerged well before LRIP began in 2009. By that point the program had already been pushed back. LRIP deliveries were supposed to start by 2006... they started in 2010. So the delays were already going to occur, whether or not concurrency was going to occur. Its also important to note that Congress limited the number of LRIP aircraft consistently in budget requests after 2009. The 2011 cut of LRIP aircraft really just acknowledged that the Congress wasn't going to pay for those aircraft regardless.

What Concurrency did was exacerbate the cost of the program's failings. Producing aircraft while the program is undergoing flight testing and redesign means that manufacturing learning can't occur efficiently, you're also introducing changes on the manufacturing line and that the aircraft will require retrofits going forward. I'm not saying that concurrency hasn't caused some problems of its own. Its increased demands on programmers to deliver additional software increments, diverting them from development focused tasks. However those are really secondary to other problems outlined above.


llc wrote: Concurrency and other development issues have contributed to close to 6 years of program delays, resulting in very expensive alternatives for countries such as Canada. The CF-18 is planned through to 2020, and unless the ELE is extended, there will be no more updating, modernization, or extension. You correctly state that Block 3 will be available to Canada starting in 2018, unfortunately that is too late to ensure complete CF-18 replacement by 2020. This is the justification for my outcomes 2 or 3 in my original post.


Discussing this issue with individuals more familiar with the CF-18 fleet's status than I am, going past 2020 isn't a major issue. Fleet life estimates are doing fairly well at this point, and they can further increase it by curtailing training or operational flights in some areas.

One key point however is that Canada will face an operational limitations once it decides on a replacement and goes through the process, regardless of the choice. With limited number of flight and ground crews available, our ability to maintain current operational readiness while they transition will be compromised. IT might make sense to just officially declare that the CF can't do expeditionary ops from 2018 to 2020 and plan that out. The army has done that before (2001~2002 operational "pause") and that would be an official acknowledgement for the benefit of planning in this case.
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Unread post14 Jan 2013, 17:20

hb_

I sincerely appreciate that reply and your insights. Well accepted.

True, you don't know me or what I do, I and I don't know what you have done or currently hold as your position.

FWIW, I have significant Canadian heritage and distant relatives and most proud, thankful and protective of that linkage.

What differences I have with you with recap strat and defence are in the details I think. The greater interests for your camp and long term vision is on the same planet, I'm sure.

When I've ever said however, that Canadian Defence policy makers should expect the unexpectable with respect to F-35 recap expectations in general, that's not an insult, but the hard cold truth.

Your most latest comment here to me that you're apparently still expecting the F-35 to be produced under assumed FRP rates and produced in total advertised numbers after all said and done though, and expecting the presently still advertised procurement unit costs to be maintained as still apparently officially advertised, should simply not be assumed. All previous and original estimates must therefore be thrown out the window as unfortunate as it is, as well as all future-looking unit cost assumptions and expectation taken as complete best-case-scenario speculation.

Truly, if Canada demands to stay the course - politically - and refuses to adjust and adapt defensively to the rapidly changing dynamics of the situation, then there will likely be a lot more frustration, finger pointing and harsh insecurity to come, say around 2020, without DND/RCAF making the necessary strategic adjustments now.

God speed.
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Unread post16 Jan 2013, 04:03

One for the Canadians....

Hill Times: The demonization of stealth 14 Jan 2013

http://f-35.ca/2013/hill-times-the-demo ... f-stealth/

"The following article by Paul Manson was published by The Hill Times on January 14, 2013. General (retired) Paul Manson is a former chief of the defence staff. He was manager of the New Fighter Aircraft program which led to the selection of the CF-18 and is a former president and board member of the CDA Institute.

The demonization of stealth
Although it is a complex matter, there are two basic arguments in favour of stealth, and both are significant: mission effectiveness and pilot survivability....

...In weighing the merits of stealth in the next round of the CF-18 replacement program, evaluators will have to take into account one critical reality. Were Canada to select a non-stealth replacement for the CF-18, our Air Force is at risk of becoming a pariah amongst our Allies, and for a very simple reason. Our new fighter would no longer be welcome to operate jointly with stealth-equipped Forces. Non-stealth aircraft cannot mix in with a flight of stealth aircraft in combat because even one will contaminate the force by virtue of its vulnerability to early detection, thus compromising the stealthy approach of the remaining aircraft.

It is fair to say that, in an examination of the range of likely Canadian missions and roles over the life of the CF-18 replacement, stealth will be of limited value in North American operations such as joint continental air defence through our partnership with the U.S. in NORAD, and in protecting our sovereignty in the Arctic and on our coasts. (In either case, though, stealth would allow the undetected approach to a suspected intruder, which is of operational value.) When it comes to overseas expeditionary missions conducted jointly with allied air forces, on the other hand, stealth becomes very important, for the reasons mentioned above, unless Canadians wish to see the RCAF relegated to third-rate status.

All of which is to say that, in the “re-set” round now underway, great care must be given to assessing the real importance of stealth without allowing misconceptions and distortions to colour the analysis. It is by no means the unnecessary and even sinister feature that its detractors have made it out to be. Clearly and undeniably, the F-35 has a significant advantage because of its stealth capability, and past polemics must not be allowed to distort this reality. Too much is at stake."

ONLY first / last paragraphs excerpted above. I'm on automatic pilot. :D
_____________________

Anotherie here: The Chronicle Herald: RCAF aircraft debate missing key point

http://f-35.ca/2013/the-chronicle-heral ... key-point/

"The following article by Tim Dunne was published by The Chronicle Herald on January 12, 2013. Tim Dunne retired from the Canadian Forces with 37 years service. He is a Halifax-based military affairs writer.

RCAF aircraft debate missing key point....

....To purchase an inferior aircraft, without the same stealth qualities, electronic interoperability and armament and capabilities as the F-35, the only fifth-generation fighter aircraft realistically available to Canada, would jeopardize mission success for our air force, and would reduce the potential for pilot survivability. A Super Hornet or a Eurofighter might be good enough for today’s strategic and operational demands, but we would be effectively using yesterday’s technology to meet future challenges that have yet to be even hypothesized.

The 21st century has already proven to be unkind and unpredictable, and we cannot know what threats the future holds. Whatever happens, we have learned from hard experience that it will be a “come as you are party” and we, as a nation, must anticipate this eventuality.

Our political decision-makers should also be mindful that those who oppose this purchase will never have to fly a combat aircraft into harm’s way. They will not have to defend their claims whenever Canada faces domestic or international adversity. They will not be held accountable if the Canadian Forces fail to meet their mission objectives because this nation purchased an inferior aircraft with inadequate capabilities to achieve the mission aims and provide pilot survivability."

Again on auto only begin/end paras here. :roll:
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Unread post22 Jan 2013, 07:40

http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/01/21 ... t-secrecy/

Former top defence official defends handling of F-35 file, blames Harper government secrecy

OTTAWA – The man who for seven years oversaw billions of dollars in military contracts and purchasing is defending the way he and his Defence Department staff managed the F-35 stealth fighter program...

And he firmly believes that – Conservative government review or not –the F-35 will be Canada’s next fighter aircraft, unless politics get in the way.

“At the end of the day, the Royal Canadian Air Force will fly F-35s,” Ross says. “If we have an Air Force that flies fighters.”...

The former brigadier-general viewed his role as first and foremost making sure these soldiers had the best equipment possible – not just to succeed at their missions, but to come home from Afghanistan and other “rat-holes” in one piece as well.

“You don’t want to be slightly worse than the other guy,” Ross says of equipping soldiers for combat.

“You actually don’t want to be equal to the other guy. You want to dominate him and kill him and he never knows he’s been killed. That’s what you need to be when government asks you to go someplace that’s really hard and really dangerous.”

That, he says, meant not always settling for “lowest-price garbage.”

“If you want to buy staff cars or furniture based on price, that’s okay. Who’s going to live and die with the furniture?” he says. “If you’re buying a weapon system that our troops live and die with, that’s not acceptable.”
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Unread post22 Jan 2013, 09:20

geogen wrote:Neuro -
llC -

All very relevant and interesting perspectives and analysis. I'd be curious of your opinion too with respect to any hypothetical F-18E/F 'LEASE' option, say short-term 8-10 years, as a further stopgap option? Could it be a less risky alternative to relying on 'Expensive' Life-extending and upgrading of existing CF-18 force structure which would be assumed to be replaced seamlessly starting in the early 2020s and concluded by the mid to later 20s?


I know you've mentioned this idea many times before Geo, but I'm honestly interested in what you think it would achieve?

Yes, it delays major expenditure on a new fighter. But that's all it does. In 2023, what is going to be different to today? Canada will still need a fighter, but it's options will be much more limited.

Super Hornet will have long finished production.

Rafale will likely have long been out of production in France, though it may still be in production in India, but as it won't have export rights anyway this isn't relevant.

Gripen E may still be in production, though it's a very big "may" given the only idea they've had to sustain production on 80 odd aircraft is to produce less than 6 aircraft a year at a huge premium... New orders may boost that, but customers aren't exactly lining up to buy it at present.

Typhoon will likely be out of production, or else it's build rate will be massively slowed, like the Gripen incurring a huge premium in the process. .

F-16 will be close to being out of production, or else it's build rate will be massively slowed, like the Gripen incurring a huge premium in the process.

F-22A is out of production.

F-15 will be out of production.

The only fighter in the West currently available in full production will be the F-35, leaving Canada exactly where it is now (in need of a new fighter), except it's spent $250m+ per year for the last 10 years to sustain a leased fleet of Super Hornets, it doesn't want as a future fighter...

And that doesn't even begin to address the fact that there is no fleet of 65x Super Hornets sitting around available for lease and Boeing would be looking at a minimum of 5 years to even deliver such a fleet from scratch.

This whole scheme of course, only works if someone could be found to fund the bill for 65x Super Hornets, which will then be leased to potentially save some other Country some money and that huge bill will not be repaid any time soon...

Alternatively, can the USN shed 65x Super Hornets from it's current fleet?

I'm just not seeing a positive to this scheme. For the idea of the predicament Canada would be in at the 2023 mark, look at the Czech Republic and Hungary now.

They are the only countries that have leased a fighter to provide ALL of their air combat needs in recent years and now both are looking at other options. Each has spent hundreds of millions of dollar on this and at the end of it, have nothing to show for it...
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Unread post22 Jan 2013, 15:09

Thanks for the reply and good questions, Conan. I'll give it a shot as to some possible longer-term follow-on contingencies based off an hypothetical Strategic 8-10 yr stopgap Lease tomorrow, when I have more time.
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Unread post22 Jan 2013, 17:15

@Conan: The lead time is still as low as 2-2/12 year lead time currently, just ask the RAAF. Given the right incentives, the USN could "swap" older jets for new Block II+ jets, with a budget offset involved. This wouldn't be "just give Canada x65 jets tomorrow". They could probably spare 4 jets for initial type training. Unless all the pilots go down to VFA-106 FRS, it would take 6-12 months to establish F/A-18E/F pilot training programs for the RCAF, so lending a couple of Block I jets is possible, with more once replacements are delivered to the USN.
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