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WOULD THE GRIPEN BE A "DOWNGRADE"?

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One of the most common criticisms when it comes to the Saab Gripen potentially replacing the CF-18 Hornet is that it would be a "downgrade".  This criticism does have merit.  The Gripen, even the "E" version, is smaller, lighter, less powerful, and carries less payload then the CF-18.  When looked at under these metrics, one wonders why the Gripen should even be considered.   There seems to be a lingering distaste for smaller fighters following Canada's experience with the CF-116 (F-5) Freedom Fighter.  While the CF-5 was not a bad aircraft, it was ill-suited to Canada's needs .   So why should Canada even consider "downgrading" to a smaller, less powerful fighter? The answer, of course, is context .   Yes, the Gripen is indeed smaller than the CF-18.  Roughly 2 meters shorter in length, over 3 meters narrower in wingspan, and just slightly shorter in height; you could fit a Gripen inside the Hornet's footprint with room to spare.  At a mere 8

THE PERFECT FIGHTER FOR CANADA DOESN'T EXIST... YET.

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  It is rather telling that Canada's choice to replace the CF-18 ultimately comes down to two rather different fighters:  The F-35 and the JAS-39E.   The message is clear.  Canada wants a cutting edge fighter...  But it doesn't want to spend a lot of money for it.  These two goals seem contradictory (because they are) but the good news is that the USAF wants the same thing .   While the Joint Strike Fighter program was  originally intended to replace the F-16, the reality has become slightly more complicated.  Put simply, the F-35's operating costs are WAY MORE than the fighter it was intended to replace.  This is despite the fact that the USAF's Viper fleet is getting on in years.  This has led the USAF to study less expensive options.  A "clean sheet" design that incorporates newer technologies without going all in like the F-35.  Like the F-15EX, this new workhorse would be a suitable option for when stealth is not needed.   The nerds at HushKit.Net immedi

WHY CANADA SHOULD BUY THE...

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F-35 LIGHTNING II   I have spilled a lot of digital ink on why Canada should not  purchase the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.  Contrary to my rhetoric, the world as we know it will not end if Canada does announce an F-35 buy.  In fact, there are plenty of reason why Canada should commit to the JSF.  This may seem a little "off brand" today I am here to tell you why we should  purchase the F-35.   It is  the future. Despite all the naysayers, the Joint Strike Fighter program has delivered on its promise to produce a 5th-generation in massive numbers.  Over 700 airframes have been delivered with production now maxed out at 156 units per year .  One can debate over whether or not the F-35 will match the sheer numbers fighters like the F-16 , but there is little doubt that the JSF will be the  NATO fighter for much of the 21st century.   Unlike the F-22 Raptor, which was deemed "too good" to export, the F-35 has been aggressively marketed to international sales.  In

F-35 AND GRIPEN... How we got here and where to now?

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  With the FFCP  decision expected to be awarded in 2022, it finally  looks like Canada is in the final stretch to replace its aging CF-188 Hornets.  With the recent ousting of Boeing's Super Hornet from the competition, we are now left with two very different candidates:  The Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II and the Saab JAS 39E Gripen (Griffon).   What a long, strange trip it's been... Nearly twelve years ago, when I started Gripen4Canada , the Joint Strike Fighter was a troubled project that seemed to be on the verge of collapsing in on itself.  Despite this, the Canadian government at the time had committed itself to buying 65 F-35As.  Shortly after, it was found that no other alternatives were fairly considered and that "fuzzy" math was used to come up with a $9 billion price tag.  Real costs were said to be much closer to $46 billion over the lifetime of the aircraft.  The fighter purchase was then "reset" (ie: put off). An "independent" re

SU-57 CHECKMATE: THE BEAR'S GAMBIT?

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  Russia pulled a sneaky on everyone.   While every military analyst has been focused on China's J-20 , Russia has upped the ante by unveiling the Su-75 "Checkmate".  One look at it tells you all you need to know, this aircraft will be a direct competitor against the F-35; both in the skies and the marketplace.   More modest than the J-20 and Su-57, the Checkmate utilizes a single-engine design that obviously strives for stealth.  Unlike The Shenyang FC-31, which simply looks like the twin-engine F-35, the Su75, simultaneously looks like nothing else in the air whilst also being hauntingly familiar.   Why does it look so familiar?   Because the Su-75 utilizes elements from two fighter designs that lost to the F-35.   The most...   Interesting  design choice has to be that front engine intake.  A similar intake appeared on Boeing's ill-fated JSF contender, the X-32.  This very intake earned the aircraft its infamous nickname:   MONICA .   (No, this isn't a Friends

SUPER HORNET IS OUT. BOEING HAS NO ONE TO BLAME BUT ITSELF.

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  Reports that there would be a "down selection" in the competition to replace Canada's aging CF-18s have turned out to be true...  Sort of.   Despite "industry insiders" predicting that the Saab Gripen will be removed from consideration , that dubious honor will go to Boeing's Super Hornet instead.  This is indeed a big surprise...  If you have not been paying attention.   The most striking fact about the Super Hornet's departure is that, at one point, it WAS going to be Canada's next fighter.  Well...   On an interim basis, anyway .  When the Liberal government formed in 2015, they had done so on the promise of cancelling Canada's F-35 purchase.  The F/A-18E/F seemed to be the most likely alternative.  In 2016, it was announced that Canada would be purchasing 18 Super Hornets as a way of filling a " capability gap ".  While these 18 Super Hornets would not be a replacing CF-18s per se , they could have definitely been used a reason t

UPDATE: MISCELLANEOUS MUSINGS MESSING WITH MY MIND...

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Sorry it's been a minute since my last post.  Over the last few months, I've made the foolish decision to attempt basement renovations whilst being a healthcare worker in the time of COVID.  Skyrocketing building material prices, forced overtime, and general sensation of existential DREAD has not been kind on my free time...  Nor my psyche .   But hey!  Whenever I feel like I'm in a never-ending clusterf*ck being constantly told "It will all be over soon." I remind myself...  Canada's CF-18 replacement program should also be over soon! Or will it? After years of speculation, controversy, a few Federal elections, an " interim fighter purchase " (that went south) and other nonsense...  Canada really does not seem to be much closer to buying new  fighter jets...  Just a few used ones.  This, despite speculation that the newly formed Liberal government would choose two finalists shortly after reconvening  last month.  So far, it has done no such thing.