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NITPICK: SUPER HORNET IRST

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  [Welcome to "NITPICK"!  For the next few weeks I will be examining a single aspect of the potential fighters that just drives me nuts.  These are not dealbreakers, or even major flaws.  They are simply one aspect of the aircraft THAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE BETTER.] Something has been bugging me about the Super Hornet Block III.   In the grand scheme of things, it is pretty minor.  For most intents and purposes, it is all but insignificant.   But it DOES bug me.  (Pardon the pun) The Super Hornet Block III adds multitude of improvements over the "vanilla" Super Hornet.  Better avionics and cockpit displays, conformal fuel tanks, and an IRST option.  All-in-all, a fantastic upgrade.   Except... Look at this picture of an early Block III demonstrator: Look how sleek it is!  No bulky external fuel tanks.  No targeting pods, no nothing.  Yet it still carries substantial quantities of fuel.  Even a "combat ready" version would not necessarily be too different wi

WHY CANADA'S FIGHTER CHOICE DOESN'T MATTER... EXCEPT IT DOES.

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  It is time to face facts.   Despite years of debates, arguments, virtual shouting matches, and almost infinite nitpicking...  It does not matter which fighter Canada chooses.   This is contrary to the mission statement of this particular blog...  But true.   Ultimately, there is no "wrong choice".  The selection of one fighter over another will not result in the dismantling of the RCAF or Canada as a sovereign nation.  The Government of Canada will not be forced into bankruptcy if it chooses a fighter ends up being more expensive than estimated.  Nor will Canada be successfully invaded if it picks a fighter lacking in certain capabilities.   No matter which fighter Canada chooses, life will go on.   There will be issues, of course.   It is almost impossible to find a single military acquisition that has not been plagued by some sort of controversy.  Budgets get blown, delivery timelines get missed, and reliability is never 100%.  This invariably leads to a great gnashing of

NEXT GENERATION AIR DOMINANCE (NGAD)

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  A bit of a bombshell was dropped a few weeks ago when the USAF admitted to flying a new prototype of its " Next Generation Air Dominance " fighter.  Not many details were revealed besides that.   This, of course, has led to rampant speculation as to what  this new fighter could be.  What does it look like?  What capabilities does it have?  Who makes it?  How soon will it be before it sees service? The timing is certainly odd.  Only a few weeks prior, the USAF announced it would be launching a new "eSeries" designation of aircraft .  These new aircraft, of which the T-7 Red Hawk (now eT-7) would be the first, utilize "digital engineering" to speed up the development...  Which makes you wonder what the hell  they used to develop aircraft like the F-22 and F-35.  Draft paper and slide rules? The F-35 has yet to reach adolescence so it is curious as to why the Pentagon would be willing to devote resources to "the next big thing".  The answer to thi

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT AMERICA... (RANT)

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  "WILL YOU SHUT UP MAN?" I've been trying to avoid this. I really have.   I know if I start talking about American politics I run the risk of devolving into a dangerous rant spiral I may not be able to escape from... But we have to talk about it.  In much the same way that 2020 has become a defining year of a generation, the upcoming American election has become a crucial turning point in American history.  Election 2020 is not simply a matter of Republican versus Democrat.  Election 2020 is the point at which America either continues down the path of Trumpian demagoguery or manages to hit a soft "reset" button to go back to the pre-2016 "normal"...  Flawed as it was.   Don't worry, I will resist the urge to count down all of Donald Trump's sins against democracy and common decency.  Those are plentiful and well publicized.  I won't even go into Trump's disastrous negligence in dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic.   Instead, I will c

HINDSIGHT 2020: LESSONS LEARNED

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  Welcome to Hindsight 2020!  For this series we will be taking a look at Canada's past fighter purchases and asking a simple question:  "Did we make the right decision?" We will look at the aircraft itself, compare it to the alternatives available at the time, and determine whether or not Canada picked the right aircraft.   Canada's history of fighter selection has been a bit of a mixed bag.   While there have been nothing that can be classified as a dismal failure, there are a few instances where we simply could have done better.  In some instances, better options were available.  In other cases, we picked a decent fighter, but placed it into the wrong role.   The Winners: The CF-18 Hornet, CF-100 Canuck, and CL-13 (F-86) Sabre all stand out as excellent fighters.  Not just for Canada, but all around.  Each one has earned their place in history.   The CF-18 earns it place thanks to its workhorse nature.  As it nears its fourth decade in RCAF service, the Hornet has

HINDSIGHT 2020: CL-13 (F-86) Sabre

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  Welcome to Hindsight 2020!  For this series we will be taking a look at Canada's past fighter purchases and asking a simple question:  "Did we make the right decision?" We will look at the aircraft itself, compare it to the alternatives available at the time, and determine whether or not Canada picked the right aircraft.     The F-86 Sabre is one of the greatest jet fighters of all time.  Of that there is simply no debate.  With almost 10,000 airframes built all over the world, the F-86 remains the most prolific western fighter of all time.  It could be argued that the Sabre's overwhelming success in the early days of jet propulsion led the America's eventual dominance over the fighter industry.   The reasoning behind the F-86's success is simple:  IT WAS A DAMN GOOD FIGHTER. Most early jet fighters suffered from underwhelming performance.  Despite the additional power provided by a jet turbine, aircraft like the Gloster Meteor and P-80 Shooting Star did not