F-35 and the Future of Canadian Security | Nov 2012

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Unread post16 Nov 2012, 07:48

F-35 and the Future of Canadian Security Richard Shimooka | November 2012

http://www.cdfai.org/PDF/F-35%20and%20t ... curity.pdf (1.7Mb)

Canada’s participation in the Joint Strike Fighter project has been fraught with much controversy and a lack of clarity. This study aims to assess how the F-35 meets Canadian defence requirements over the next few decades.

It concludes:
• The global balance of power is currently shifting towards greater multipolarity, with a growing rivalry between a tier of rising new powers and established powers;
• Demographic, economic and political shifts in Western states may push the calculus of intervention towards aerial campaigns rather than ground invasions with large, manpower intensive armies;
• The international proliferation of highly effective air-to-air and ground-to-air systems pose a major threat to current generation fighters;
• Canada possesses several unique considerations involving northern defence, including long range capability, good reliability and an advanced sensor package.

The F-35 capabilities are an important response to these trends:
• The low observable features and avionics will enable the F-35 to operate in contested airspace denied to earlier generations of aircraft;
• Its avionics are essential to integrate into on-going networking trends and ensuring long-term affordability and viability;
• The F-35 should greatly enhance Canada’s ability to perform its northern sovereignty operations, without risking pilot safety;
• Interoperability with the United States and other partners will vastly increase the effectiveness of Canada’s F-35 fleet and maintain long-term affordability;
• The projected F-35 fleet size and aircraft serviceability are sufficient to maintain and even improve the capability of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Several risks remain however, that must be acknowledged:
• Although the F-35 aircraft should meet the projected acquisition cost set out in the 2010 estimates, there is little flexibility left in the budget for further increases;
• The sequestration process set out in the United States Budget Control Act 2011 represents a major threat to the affordability of the F-35;
• The F-35’s sustainment and logistical systems are in their infancy, and their development will be critical in determining operations and maintenance costs.

Based on these recommendations the government of Canada should:
• Remain engaged as a partner in the JSF program and continue to participate in its development;
• Closely observe and consider the fighter’s progress in order to better inform its final decision to purchase the fighter after 2016;
• Ensure that the unique features of the F-35 operation are fully understood by all levels of government and implemented properly if purchased."

Of course there is HEAPS more in the actual PDF so go read it!
RAN FAA A4G: http://tinyurl.com/ctfwb3t http://tinyurl.com/ccmlenr http://www.youtube.com/user/bengello/videos


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Unread post16 Nov 2012, 10:44

Nothing really new but would be informative for a Canadian audience in particular.. may take issue though with Iran having Flankers or Rafale and Typhoon being longer-ranged ..
For those not inclined to read the whole thing...


On the whole, there is little doubt that the F-35 likely represents the future of Western tactical air forces for the next 40 years, or longer. This study finds that the F-35 is best suited to meet the future range of foreign and domestic challenges facing Canada. If the government and the public desire to maintain the current level of operational capability in terms of a technological parity or advantage against an increasingly sophisticated adversary, the F-35 is clearly the correct choice amongst the options available.
A number of common concerns surrounding its performance, particularly concerning range, reliability and total numbers, somewhat diminish once examined critically.

Nevertheless, a number of important challenges remain, which could negatively affect the operational suitability or affordability of the aircraft. Several key features of the program, such as advanced avionics and logistics function, remain in the early stages of development. There are also risks concerning the implementation of these systems in practice. Logistical, maintenance and training practices all require a critical examination in order to obtain optimum performance.

Yet, it is important not to overstate the challenges involved. The program’s early failures have led to heavy scrutiny in the US and abroad. The result has been a better-managed program that has experienced fewer delays and cost increases over the past two years. Nevertheless, Canada should monitor the full spectrum of risks carefully as the aircraft matures during the development process. This will prove invaluable when the government makes a final commitment to purchase after 2016. As is often the case, any investment for the future will involve risk. In terms of a replacement for the CF-18, procurement and sustainment of the F-35 through the JSF Program represents the appropriate balance of risk and long-term benefit at this point in time.

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