And now there are only three

I said some months ago, after it was reported that Dassault of France had pulled its Rafale fighter out of Canada’s competition to replace our CF-18s, that “It makes me wonder if we have a two-horse race to replace our ageing CF-18 Hornets. Is it the Lockheed-Martin Lightning II, the jet Justin Trudeau said he would not buy because it does work, vs the European Typhoon?

Screen Shot 2019-08-31 at 06.20.29Now David Pugliese reports, in the National Post, that “Another company has pulled out of Canada’s competition to buy new fighter jets … [and] … The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence and Airbus Defence and Space informed the Canadian government Friday of their decision to withdraw from Canada’s future fighter competition. Airbus had been offering Canada the Eurofighter Typhoon.

I had guessed that the Swedish Saab Grippen might be the next contender to drop out, but it is still in the race, as Mr Pugliese says, “The decision to pull the Eurofighter from the competition leaves the F-35, the Boeing Super Hornet, and Saab’s Gripen … and he adds that] … It is unclear whether Boeing or Saab will continue in the competition.

He explains that “Airbus and the British Ministry of Defence noted in a joint statement that the decision to withdraw was the result of a detailed review of Canada’s request for proposals, which was released on July 23. The statement pointed to the changes Canada made to the industrial benefits package to appease Lockheed Martin as well as the excessive costs that U.S.-Canadian security requirements placed on a company based outside North America … [saying] … “A detailed review has led the parties to conclude that NORAD security requirements continue to place too significant of a cost on platforms whose manufacture and repair chains sit outside the United States-Canada 2-EYES community … [and] … Second, both parties concluded that the significant recent revision of industrial technological benefits obligations does not sufficiently value the binding commitments the Typhoon Canada package was willing to make, and which were one of its major points of focus.”” If that North American bias is too strong for Airbus and the UK I still wonder if Sweden’s Saab can justify the costs of a bid.

In any event, it looks to me as if this is shaping up to be a one-horse race. I doubt Saab can win on technical grounds; I agree with many others that the Super-Hornet is too dated and the very smart and generally impartial people doing the analysis will decide that the F-35 Lightning II, the jet that Justin Trudeau promised Canada would not buy, will be the winner.

I expect that Canada will do whatever it can to keep at least two bidders, Boeing and Lockheed-Martin, in the competition until the spring of 2020. But my guess is that the issue is decided.

8 thoughts on “And now there are only three

  1. Yes that is my fear as well and it is a dammed shame Canada will will be once again be raped by an american corporation with our brothers in arms in the Pentagon holding the jackets. Ohh, just one more step on the route to full colony status I suppose, I’m sure it will make some of my country men happy to snuggle into the warmth of big brother led by D.Trump but I really wonder if I can stomach where the US’s swamp is being drained to, for I have absolutely no belief in any of the political parties of Canada being able to see past the now, into the future, forget sovereignty, technological advancement, forget history and forget pride.

  2. I believe that the real dilemma is whether Canada wishes to continue as the ‘middle power’, when it comes to the military, that we perceive ourselves to be. A true middle power will have at least a token capability in all critical areas of military operations. Increasingly Canada is having less influence in world military affairs. Although we believe Canada to be a serious military contributor, our allies are less convinced. If Canada is determined to field a military force to be a serious contributor in world affairs, we will need to replace the fleet of CF-18. Despite all the rhetoric out there the options are very limited.

    The Rafale and the Typhoon have been withdrawn as contenders. No surprise there. It costs a lot of time and resources to bid on a contract that you have a slim to none chance of winning.

    The Saab Gripen NG is still in the competition, for now. Possibly Saab is waiting until after the Federal election in October. If the Liberals win another majority Saab may still have a chance of picking up the pieces. Although the Gripen NG is a very capable aircraft, it would relegate Canada to the sidelines in most international scenarios involving our allies, who would all be flying F-35.

    The Super Hornet may be in a ‘win / win’ situation. If the Liberals win another majority in October the Super Hornet has a serious chance of success. If the Conservatives win a majority in October the F-35 will be the more likely winner. Boeing will then litigate against the Canadian Goverment to recover all the profits they would have earned had they won the contract. Seem far fetched, remember the Liberals and the EH 101 fiasco. Canada paid out $650 million(+) to break contracts.

    So that leaves the F-35. Love it or hate it Canada’s options are limited. The majority of our allies have already bought in to the F-35 program and will be flying the jets while we are still dithering. Canada would be in a very obvious ‘stand alone’ position if we did not buy in to the F-35. Not to mention all of the F-35 spin off manufacturing that would disappear from Canadian firms overnight.

    1. Well the manufacturers jobs disappearing would take a bit, seeing as how they were won fair and square and the shareholders at LM would moan, as far as us being a stand alone that should be an advantage due to all the eggs being in one basket problem. The problem is no one seems to realize is that it’s our money not the states or the pentagon or the corporation, in other words America, if you want to sell it make sure it’s right. Not in the future but now.

  3. Sadly….I fear the F-35 will win. Lockheed has too many connections inside our military and political parties to persuade for their aircraft. The F-35 may work in the future and be priced below $80 million but the upkeep of the aircraft would cost more in the long run. Our armed forces only has a certain amount of funds to split among the Army, Navy and Air Force. Or the parties may use the purchase of the F-35 to bring spending closer on Defense to 2% of gdp like they do by using veteran affairs and procurement. Governments way of saying they spend on Defense when instead of actual spending on Defense by using a number of departments to get to that magic number of 2%.

    Canada would be better off with the Gripen E or F. It may cost a bit more than $80 million but the upkeep of the aircraft would be manageable for the Air Force budget and not take from the Army and Navy.
    The Navy I think will have a problem with their new Lockheed type 26 surface combat (Hunter class) vessel as it’s a new vessel not built in England yet and not tested. More money for Lockmart though. Navy will spend more for a few vessels when they could have purchased more mature designs of corvettes and frigates.

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