Canada and the F-35

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spazsinbad

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Unread post28 Feb 2013, 21:39

Hat TIP to <a href="http://whythef35.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/f-35-comprehensive-comparative-look-at.html ">'Why the F-35?'</a> for this very long article about the F-35 and such.

Canada and the F-35
21 Feb 2013 Mangler Muldoon

Canada is set to purchase 65 CF-35 fighters to replace its aging fleet of CF-18's. The CF-35 is modified version of the American F-35A. The deal is worth C$10 billion. It is estimated the cost of maintaining the fleet will amount to C$12 billion over 20 years and C$ 45.802 billion if the CF-35 is kept in service for 42 years. (Defense Industry Daily, 2012)

Source: http://manglermuldoon.blogspot.com.au/2 ... -f-35.html


Set aside some time to read and digest this post. In a quick reading some erroneous ideas such as 'export stealth given credibility' were spotted along with lack of acknowledgement of 'over the shoulder' missile shots by the F-35.
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mangler-muldoon

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Unread post28 Feb 2013, 22:45

Hi I'm Mangler Muldoon. I'm sorry if there were some bad spelling errors but proof reading an article that long takes forever.

In regards to over the shoulder missile shots, the off-boresight section talks about it a bit as well as the DAS marketing video I provided.
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luke_sandoz

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Unread post28 Feb 2013, 22:55

Good job Mangler . . . can't say I agree with all your conclusions - the mixed fleet etc, but you have done an outstanding job of telling the story.
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hb_pencil

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Unread post28 Feb 2013, 23:25

Hello Mangler.

Its nice to see some more critical thought put into the f-35's capabilities... which is the real strength of your piece and it was a good read through. However your conclusions needs some additional information to better understand the Canadian situation. Canada's initial purchases will be only be 10 aircraft or so between 2015 to 2017, which will all be Luke/Eglin AFB based training aircraft. The "risk" there is minimal, as they will be mostly for training and don't all have to be full operational (like current LRIP aircraft and those of the F-22). The vast majority (55 squadron aircraft) will be made between 2019 and 2024. Also we're not in the same boat as Australia: we can continually regenerate our CF-18 Hornet Fleet well past 2020. We've maintained our overhaul facilities to ensure this. So there is no need for Canada to go to a secondary fleet to manage our risks.

Second, your purchase price for F/A-18Es are incredibly low. $83 million is the DoD's flyaway cost. You have to add FMS and research fees to that, which at the very least brings it to $90 million, if not higher with some specific Canadian modifications that would almost certainly be included. That's also based on current FY2012 costs. As MYP ends this year, per unit costs will rise significantly: fewer aircraft being produced with a fixed overhead means higher unit costs.

Third, there is the budget mechanics of this, particularly given the just announced (yesterday) budget cuts. With DND using a accrual accounting policy, it makes it really hard for Canada to operate more than one aircraft type at a time.Under this policy, purchases procurement costs are stretched out over 20 years and operations and personnel are year to year. That softens the upfront blow to the DND procurement budget, but you can't easily cut it either... you can't cut the 2006 acquisition of CC-177s because they are already purchased (still DND would not want to add 120 million a year to its topline budget for the F/A-18Es vs other options right now.) This dynamic makes personnel and operations a more inviting target for cuts. More importantly,with operations and personnel accounts being cut to the bone to meet the TBS directives, there is no room to grow staff to train another aircraft and run two fleets. Then we would require even more personnel to support a three airplane fleet sometime after 2017 as we transition out of CF-18, continue F/A-18E transition, and start F-35 transition. The real outcome would be severely curtailed capability (if not zero capability) between 2015 to 2020, when simply maintaining our current fleet would be cheaper and provide more effective value.

Still, I really enjoyed your effort to think about this and hope to see more.
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neurotech

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Unread post01 Mar 2013, 00:11

@hb_pencil: One possibility with the RAAF buying more hornets, is the US DoD allocates some of the MYP jets to the RAAF, as part of a solution to the current budget issues. At least one RAAF C-17 was "acquired" from the USAF allocation, to expedite delivery.

Where did Mangler mention the cheap figure? The only way they could get the UFC down to ~$50-$60m is with an expanded MYP, which is unlikely until this sequestration rubbish is figured out.

One curious tidbit in the recent DoD O&M cost reports, was that the F/A-18E was actually cheaper to fly, by about $1500/hr.
http://comptroller.defense.gov/rates/fy ... 13_f_h.pdf

The FY 2013 UFC is $65.3m, The FY 2014 UFC is $83m. The FY2014 figures are based on production wind-down, without an extension.
http://www.finance.hq.navy.mil/FMB/13pr ... 4_BOOK.pdf

That said, you are correct with regard to the "minimal" risk of Luke/Eglin based CF-35As as they wouldn't need full support infrastructure at that point, and using existing facilities and arrangements.

Also, IF the RCAF wanted to operate CF-18E/F jets, I'm sure they could make arrangements to train at NAS Ocean/Lemoore with the USN using shared maintenance and logistics. Depot maintenance can be done by Boeing contractors, but that could only be stretched so far. If DND cut the maintenance and operations budgets to the bone, then that would complicate things significantly when flying multiple types operationally, and separate from the shared training squadrons.
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Unread post01 Mar 2013, 00:29

Thanks hB pencil for the critique. It’s hard to get a good peer review online. Unfortunately my knowledge is fairly limited when it comes to budget allocation and personnel costs. My “specialty” is really the capabilities of aircraft, avionics, and weapons systems. Thus, I was unaware of the overhaul facilities you mentioned. Do you know any sources that specify this in detail? Your right about the F/A-18E price estimation which was merely the unit procurement cost as listed on the YF 2013 budget. Other costs would certainly drive up the price. Part III is certainly not set in stone and I try and make updates to articles when I can.

I also did not hear about the most recent budget cuts to Canada’s military. I determined that after the proposed purchase of Predators and Growlers that there would not be sufficient remaining funds for purely CF-35’s (enough to defend all of Canada). The CAF desperately needs improved ISR capabilities and the addition of six Predator drones will go a long way. Growlers were seen as necessary to increase the effectiveness of other NATO partners as a whole NATO is deficient in dedicated modern electronic warfare aircraft (aside from the United States). The CF-35 likely has some EW capabilities due to its incorporation of the APG-81 but the nature of those capabilities is classified. If the CF-35 EW capabilities are sufficient enough, the Growler purchase could be removed outright.
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Unread post01 Mar 2013, 00:48

neurotech wrote:@hb_pencil: One possibility with the RAAF buying more hornets, is the US DoD allocates some of the MYP jets to the RAAF, as part of a solution to the current budget issues. At least one RAAF C-17 was "acquired" from the USAF allocation, to expedite delivery..


Possible, but its still going to tack on FMS fees, research costs and unit modification. See next response

neurotech wrote:Where did Mangler mention the cheap figure? The only way they could get the UFC down to ~$50-$60m is with an expanded MYP, which is unlikely until this sequestration rubbish is figured out.


$83 million is the "cheap figure." Ours would be around 90 million, maybe closer to 100 million depending on the research fee and/or canadian modifications.

Actually I think Sequestration all but ensures the death of the F/A-18E/F purchase. With fleet cutbacks going on, the Navy has barely the fiying hours to keep its current aircraft in the air, which makes me question how it would intend to transition squadrons to a new aircraft. Ending MYP also frees up some budget to meet cuts (at least not to add more money to accrual).



neurotech wrote:One curious tidbit in the recent DoD O&M cost reports, was that the F/A-18E was actually cheaper to fly, by about $1500/hr.
http://comptroller.defense.gov/rates/fy ... 13_f_h.pdf


The FY 2013 UFC is $65.3m, The FY 2014 UFC is $83m. The FY2014 figures are based on production wind-down, without an extension.
http://www.finance.hq.navy.mil/FMB/13pr ... 4_BOOK.pdf


I think the White House's comments on Congress' adding funding to continuing F/A-18E/F and M-1 production illustrates the government thinking pretty clearly;

Unrequested Authorizations: The Administration objects to the unrequested authorizations for the advance procurement of additional F/?A-?18E/?F Navy fighter aircraft and for unneeded upgrades to the M-?1 Abrams tank. Funding these items in this fiscally-?constrained environment would divert scarce resources away from more important defense programs.

neurotech wrote:That said, you are correct with regard to the "minimal" risk of Luke/Eglin based CF-35As as they wouldn't need full support infrastructure at that point, and using existing facilities and arrangements.


I just think of the USAF Pre-block 30(?) F-22s and how that experience might relate to Canada.

neurotech wrote:Also, IF the RCAF wanted to operate CF-18E/F jets, I'm sure they could make arrangements to train at NAS Ocean/Lemoore with the USN using shared maintenance and logistics. Depot maintenance can be done by Boeing contractors, but that could only be stretched so far. If DND cut the maintenance and operations budgets to the bone, then that would complicate things significantly when flying multiple types operationally, and separate from the shared training squadrons.


Its already pretty tight as is. We're basically running our crews ragged meeting current contingencies and requirements. We can sustain a mission for a little while, but our readiness suffers significatly. A fleet transition without additional personnel would make it impossible to meet any committments, include the essential NORAD ones.

Best way to put this: Buying the F/A-18E at a minimum adds $120 million a year to DND's budget through procurement (Mangler's option)... a full purchase over 360 million... that's over 1/3rd of the budget cut right there and it doesn't include MILCON, personnel, operations, spares, ect costs. I don't think the government or the military is going to go for that at all.
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Unread post01 Mar 2013, 00:58

mangler-muldoon wrote:Thanks hB pencil for the critique. It’s hard to get a good peer review online. Unfortunately my knowledge is fairly limited when it comes to budget allocation and personnel costs. My “specialty” is really the capabilities of aircraft, avionics, and weapons systems. Thus, I was unaware of the overhaul facilities you mentioned. Do you know any sources that specify this in detail? Your right about the F/A-18E price estimation which was merely the unit procurement cost as listed on the YF 2013 budget. Other costs would certainly drive up the price. Part III is certainly not set in stone and I try and make updates to articles when I can.


I don't, but this is the case. Its the L3 MAS Mirabel facility. This kinda hints at it:

http://www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca/v2/nr- ... p?id=10938


mangler-muldoon wrote:I also did not hear about the most recent budget cuts to Canada’s military.


They came down yesterday. In reality there wasn't any budget programming available until 2017... but this just all but assures there is no money at all.


mangler-muldoon wrote: I determined that after the proposed purchase of Predators and Growlers that there would not be sufficient remaining funds for purely CF-35’s (enough to defend all of Canada). The CAF desperately needs improved ISR capabilities and the addition of six Predator drones will go a long way. Growlers were seen as necessary to increase the effectiveness of other NATO partners as a whole NATO is deficient in dedicated modern electronic warfare aircraft (aside from the United States). The CF-35 likely has some EW capabilities due to its incorporation of the APG-81 but the nature of those capabilities is classified. If the CF-35 EW capabilities are sufficient enough, the Growler purchase could be removed outright.



I don't think we need to improve our ISR capabilities dramatically. We may purchase a Global Hawk or two or four in a decade's time. You have to remember that we have a NORAD agreement and that also covers surveillance. So our situation must also be understood that US contributes to our defence, and us to theirs. US AWACS and our Northern Radar sites all are essential elements to our northern defence.

You have to remember that we got rid of our dedicated EW assets back around 1983 deliberately... and there isn't the determination to obtain more now.
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luke_sandoz

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Unread post01 Mar 2013, 02:57

Canada has issues with multiple fleet maintenance . . . They do great maintenance . . . Look at what they did for years with their geriatric Hercs, but they are a small force and simply do not have the personnel depth to cover multiple fleets.
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Unread post01 Mar 2013, 04:26

It looks like the RAAF are edging closer to more Super Hornets. Last I heard, Boeing still want the Block III upgrades ready for possible export sales, and may even allocate a FY2014/2015 aircraft for the test program. Advanced procurement funds are a small part of production costs, so Boeing could cover a USN shortfall, in the interest of maintaining production for export.
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Unread post01 Mar 2013, 05:02

You also have to add in a major avionics upgrade for the F-18E if it is going to stay relevent past 2020. Basicly its going to need all the avionics and sensors that the F-35 has in order to stay relevent.
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Unread post01 Mar 2013, 05:23

Block III basically does that. Gives it an "EOTS' and "DAS" and a large touchscreen. It already has the most advanced radar to see combat.
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Unread post01 Mar 2013, 05:47

luke_sandoz wrote:Canada has issues with multiple fleet maintenance . . . They do great maintenance . . . Look at what they did for years with their geriatric Hercs, but they are a small force and simply do not have the personnel depth to cover multiple fleets.


We barely have enough to cover one fleet as it is.
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Unread post01 Mar 2013, 06:29

Blk 3 Superhornet adds a MAWS and does not claim EODAS features like WVR target tracking, navigation, etc.
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Unread post01 Mar 2013, 09:47

SpudmanWP wrote:Blk 3 Superhornet adds a MAWS and does not claim EODAS features like WVR target tracking, navigation, etc.

They are adding internal EOTS, but no F-35 level EODAS.
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