In an article in the Globe and Mail, Lieutenant General Mike Hood, the commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force is quoted as saying that “the Liberals are taking “a prudent amount of time,” as choosing Canada’s next fighter is a big decision – especially since it will likely be in use for decades … [and] … “The timelines the government and the minister have articulated will let them be absolutely sure that they’re making the right choice for a final fighter that will probably be flying when I’m going to the grave.”” General Hood’s “prudent amount of time” might be considered, by some, to be absolutely leisurely, given the age of the CF-18 fleet, and some might wonder if “the right choice” is a military, economic (price and jobs for Canadians), trade policy or partisan political choice: my guess is that it is all four, and more, with military considerations being pretty near the bottom of the heap.
My guess is that most RCAF fighter pilots and aeronautical engineers have a “favourite” aircraft but that they will get 100% performance out of whatever the government decides is the “right choice” for them. I, still, have no really informed opinion … but I hope that the pilots and engineers have some influence in the selection process.
The “prudent” timeline seems, to me, to be designed to take the “We will not buy the F-35 stealth fighter-bomber“ election promise off the table and, instead, if the question is asked at all, to focus on the “We will immediately launch an open and transparent competition to replace the CF-18 fighter aircraft” aspect, even though, given that the government now wants to buy 88 fighters for $15 Billion to $18 Billion rather than just 65 for $9 Billion, the “We will reduce the procurement budget for replacing the CF-18s” part of that contradiction filled promise needs to be ignored by voters.
But, I think that a few million Canadians are, already, having some pangs of “buyer’s remorse” now that they can see that Justin Trudeau really isn’t much more than a very pleasant young man with no particular leadership ability and little in the way of intellectual depth or honesty.