Subsidizing Bombardier

A few months ago I speculated that one way the government might explore to (legally) Rafale_RCAF_2_Chris_Blacksubsidize Bombardier is to buy a CF-18 replacement aircraft from a company that will build (assemble) (part of) it in Canada, at Bombardier, assuming, that is, that the Trudeau government intends to keep its popular election promise to not buy the US F-35 fighter jets.

101-af-cp140-aurora-5Yesterday, in updating my Strategic Survey, I suggested that one project that needs to be moved forward is the replacement for the P-140 long range patrol aircraft.

bombardier-house-colors-CSeries-CS300-fsx1According to some commentators one way to meet that valid military requirement and shovel a lot of money into Bombardier is to use the problem plagued Bombardier C series medium range jet as a patrol aircraft … perhaps based on a stretched version of the CS300.

Now I am not equipped to offer anything like useful advice on which aircraft is equal to or better than another and you can look up the specs on the CP-140 and the CS300 and do the basic comparisons for yourselves and you will see that the CS300 is a medium range, not a long range aircraft … and that ignores problems like fitting weapon bays and so on.

But strategy is not a military business and Canadian governments, Liberal 300px-RCAF_CC-150_Polaris_Daviesand Conservative alike, have, for decades, been trying to build a viable, national aerospace “champion” in greater Montreal as part of their domestic, industrial strategy. Buying Bombardier’s commercial aircraft to replace e.g. the RCAF’s Airbus based passenger fleet (and, perhaps, the Canadair Challengers, too) is, I am fairly certain, already being considered. The problem is that the Airbus can be used as an air-to-air re-fueler, too, and it’s not clear that a C series jet can do the same. But my guess is that some way must be found to put a lot of public money into Bombardier ~ one hopes with some major changes being demanded at the top of the family run corporation ~ and spending defence budget money is a legitimate way (under international trade law) to subdidize a Canadian corporation, which seems to be the government’s intention.

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