|That's right. I said it.|
David Pugliese's Defense Watch blog over at the Ottawa Citizen has had several guest writers extolling the virtues of various fighter aircraft for Canada. Starting with Gripen, and followed by the Super Hornet, F-35, and the Rafale. With no sign of an article in favor of the Eurofighter Typhoon, I took it upon myself to give the Typhoon "equal time".
I'm glad I did. Mr. Pugliese was gracious enough to print my piece, and the response has (mostly) been positive.
You can find the piece here (part 1), here (part 2), and here (part 3).
You will notice, that the stipulation "Right now" is added to the 3-part article's title. This is deliberate. The Typhoon has its issues, but I do believe it is the best of the bunch as it stands at the present time. Don't worry though, I am still an adamant supporter of the Saab Gripen E/F strictly on a cost/benefit ratio, and the Boeing Advanced Super Hornet looks fantastic. I also like to think that I have enough of an open mind to consider the F-35 when and if it gets the bugs worked out.
If there was a need for fighters NOW, however, Canada realistically only has 3 choices. The "regular" Super Hornet, the Rafale, and the Typhoon. Neither the F-35 or Gripen E/F are ready yet, so that counts them out.
The Rafale would require time and money to convert to Canada's NATO standard AMRAAMs, etc, and its missing a few "must haves" like helmet mounted display (HMD). It also has a rather small radar, even if it is an AESA.
The Super Hornet, on the other hand, would be a much easier transition, but it's performance just doesn't match that of the Typhoon or Rafale.
By contrast, the Typhoon is pretty damn good as it is, and there's room for future improvements. There's very little reason not to select it, other than its reputation for high cost, which may not be so bad when put into context.
This isn't about to become "Typhoon4Canada" though. I still want to see a full and open competition weighing the performance and economic benefits of each aircraft. That's the only way it can be determined for sure which fighter is the best for Canada.