The fighter follies

So, two things caught my eye recently:

  • A bit over a week ago it was reported, in the National Post,  that “The U.S. government has approved Canada’s purchase of [up to 25] used F-18 fighter jets from Australia, paving the way for the deal to be completed by the end of the year … [and] … The sign-off from the Americans was needed because the aircraft were built in the U.S. with U.S. technology;” and
  • A few days ago Conservative defence critic James Bezan, on social media, noted that ~

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Now, of course, we are (probably) buying the used F-18s from Australia because the Trudeau government wants to postpone serious discussions about buying a new fighter jet until after the 2019 election because they know that there are no new votes to be had, and likely some to be lost, by talking about buying big, expensive military aircraft. They created a wholly phoney “capability gap” because, their initial plan was to sole source (no competition) the purchase of new, 4th generation, Super-Hornet fighters from Boeing, but that fell through when Boeing attacked Bombardier over subsidies. The Super Hornet plan was needed because Prime Minister Trudeau did, indeed, say, in June of 2016, in response to a question in the House of Commons from then CPC leader Ronal Ambrose that the Conservatives messed up the fighter file because they ““clung to an aircraft (the F-35) that does not work and is far from working.”

Well, the 5th generation F-35 Lightening II does work, in combat, and the plan to avoid a competition by buying the Super Hornet on a sole source contract is in ruins and so we are left with buying a couple of dozen used Australian F-18s, but no one, other than a few Conservative partisans, like me, will comment because:

  • trudeau_leaderPrime Minister Trudeau decided to “kick the can down the road” until 2022 when, possibly, the F-35 may be the only aircraft still in production;
  • Most of the media knows that most Canadians just don’t give a damn; and
  • Too many people are still captivated by the Team Trudeau narrative that Justin Trudeau is always right about everything.

It may be to late to avoid buying 30 year old used aircraft ~ which are only on sale because the Aussies are replacing them with new F-35s ~ but it is not too late to replace Justin Trudeau with an adult leader.


Published by Ted Campbell

Old, retired Canadian soldier, Conservative ~ socially moderate, but a fiscal hawk. A husband, father and grandfather. Published material is posted under the "Fair Dealing" provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act for the purposes of research, private study and education.

3 thoughts on “The fighter follies

  1. I disagree! Dropping rocks on primitives can be accomplished with things considerably less expensive than an F 35 (such as an A10, Super Tucano etc.), essentially it is a 21 st century version of a Junkers 87 Stuka, whoopee, will it solve the problem of long range for Canada’s vast spaces no, will it do anything useful for us, only if you think we are going to war, so it’s useful for the yanks, for us, that don’t usually don’t do sneak attacks, no, not an interceptor/air superiority Air Craft. I really wish the quote “Leaders” of this country would spend the time to think, Conservative and Liberal instead of listening and watching new car/airplane ads and then making silly pronouncements. You have worried about Canadians not being at all interested in defence in the past, well get some one up there that doesn’t pass something important off as a platitude contest, at the moment after voting for roughly 60 years I wouldn’t waste my semi precious time to vote for the Conservative or Liberal parties, I guess being older I’ve lost “faith” in the whole b.s. system, I thought a white paper on defence was the brightest minds getting together and trying to plot out a way forward for our collective security, what a fool I am.

  2. Canada is a country with a large land mass, but relatively small population. Currently we defend this large land mass and participate with our allies in joint overseas military missions. We need an aircraft, in sufficient numbers, that can patrol this large land mass at a reasonable cost. We also need an aircraft that can integrate with our allies for overseas missions. As the current aircraft aircraft designs, that we are considering, mature and age there are few real choices left. The more likely remaining option is a split fleet of two aircraft types.

    The F-35 is the obvious choice for an aircraft that can integrate with our allies for overseas missions. Two squadrons, approximately 36 aircraft, should be sufficient. This order should be negotiated and contracted as soon as possible to get the process started. Once this contract is in place we should search for an aircraft, that can be procured in sufficient numbers, for use within Canada. Possibly a follow on order of additional F-35 or an alternate aircraft such as the Gripen NG. Depending on the aircraft chosen, 70 – 100 aircraft for 4 – 5 squadrons.

    Of the remaining aircraft choices, that Canada is currently considering, three are unrealistic choices and should not even be included in the search. Super Hornet, although a very capable aircraft, it’s design is well past the best before date. Typhoon, expensive to acquire in sufficient numbers and a mature design at this time. In twenty years the design will be somewhat aged. Rafale, still a reasonable choice, but not flown by any of our close allies. Any new design, not currently flying at least as a test aircraft, should not be considered.

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