Showing posts from September, 2014

Supply ships: "Common sense" vs. "Duh..."

The Canadian Navy's two Protecteur-class replenishment ships are done.  After 45 years of faithful service, HMCS Protecteur suffered an engine room fire off the coast of Hawaii and needed to be towed back to port.  Her sister ship, the HMCS Preserver, is not doing much better.  In 2011, it smashed into a Halifax dock causing over a half-million dollars in damages.  Both ships have been plagued with electrical problems.

These ships are no longer just "showing their age".  One of these ships is now officially dead with the other on life support.  Recently, it was announced that both ships have sailed their last journeys, along with the similar vintaged HMCS Iroquois and HMCS Algonquin destroyers.  This is just as well, as the two Protecteur-class ships were beginning to wear out there welcome in many ports thanks to their monohull design.

These two ships have served Canada well, but they have earned their rest.

Unfortunately, construction of the Protecteur-class replace…

Mythbuster: "Arctic patrols"

Captain Buster was about to take his CF-18 fighter back to base.  Several boring hours of flying over the Canadian tundra had left his aircraft at near bingo fuel.  His stomach started to rumble as he started to contemplate what was for dinner at the mess hall that night.  "Maybe that cute logistics officer would be there again tonight" he thought with a smile.

"PING!"  His thoughts were rudely interrupted as a blip appeared on the very edge of his radar screen.  

"Unidentified bogey detected coming in from the north!"  Blared the excited voice of his wingman through the headset.  Captain Buster wished he could go back in time thirty seconds and preemptively turn down the volume.  

"Calm down, Newbie..."  Answered Buster.  "It's probably nothing.  Just in case, lets check it out before we run out of gas."  He did not want his wingman to know it, but this one just did not feel right.  The hairs on the back of his neck stood erect as he…

Fighter Jet Fight Club: Epilogue

WARNING:  THE ABOVE VIDEO CONTAINS SPOILERS! (Seriously though, the movie's 15 years old, go see it already!)
So that's it.  
After weeks of pitting various fighters against each other, the dust has finally cleared and we are left with...  What exactly?
I would like to be able to say that after examining all of the aircraft potentially available, one aircraft has stood out.  That aircraft enjoyed an undefeated streak in FJFC and is unequivocally the best fighter for Canada.
I would like to say that...  But I can't.
I am no expert.  I have no inside knowledge about these aircraft, their systems, nor their operating procedures.  What I have is access to is the information that if publicly available to anyone with an internet connection.  In other words, all comparisons were made based on the obvious. 
Does that mean "Fighter A" is better than "Fighter B"?  Of course not.  My scoring was basic.  It did not take into account the nuances of modern fighter air…

Fighter Jet Fight Club: F-35 vs. Gripen

Funny how things go full circle.

When I started a few years ago, I was convinced that the Gripen NG (now Gripen E/F) would be a much more suitable replacement for Canada's aging CF-18s.  Much has changed since then, and I have attempted to broaden my scope to look at other fighter aircraft in order to find the "best fighter for Canada".

Anyone following the Joint Strike Fighter's saga over the years knows that it is a troubled program.  Despite assertions of progress from both Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon, there is no escaping the fact that the F-35 is still nowhere near the fighter it is supposed to be.

When I devised "Fighter Jet Fight Club" I decided that I would need to compensate for the F-35's issues, otherwise I would be shot down as clearly biased against it.  In order to do this, I added two rules:

All equipment will work "as advertised".  No buggy software, etc.Cost is not considered.My reasoning was …

Introducing Mythbuster Mondays!

As my weekly installments of "Fighter Jet Fight Club" are come to an end, I thought it would be interesting to continue on with another regular series.  The big question:  "What do I replace it with?"

For those of you wishing for "Red vs. Blue" match ups between western fighters and possible adversaries (like the PAK FA, J-10B, etc)...  I am sorry to disappoint.  There just is not much information about those aircraft yet and any such endeavor would be filled with conjecture.  I am not ruling such a thing out in the future however...

Instead, I will attempt to clear up some myths, misconceptions, and misunderstandings that always seem to creep up when discussing fighter aircraft and the like.  In a way, this will build upon the "Myths and Misconceptions" page.  Posts will be more in depth however.

Why are there so many myths surrounding the subject matter?

For one, military forces keep much of their operating strategies and procedures under tig…

Running out of runway.

Hat tip to Eric Palmer!

Eight-thousand feet.

That is the minimum amount of runway required to safely operate the conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) version of the F-35, the F-35A.  For training purposes it is preferable for the newbie F-35 pilot to have up to 10,000 feet to allow for a margin of error.  This is according to RAAF documents, found here (warning:  PDF download).

For those not keeping score, the CTOL F-35A was (is?) the planned replacements for the RCAF's aging CF-18s.  Being a carrier-capable aircraft, the CF-18 has little problem operating out of shorter runways.  Strengthened landing gear, low stall speed, and an arrestor hook make for snappy take-offs and landings.  The F-35A lacks these benefits, as they are not required to operate out of large USAF airbases with more than enough runway to go around.

For Canada, things are a little different.

Canada's current fleet of CF-18s are operated out of two airbases, CFB Cold Lake, Alberta and CFB Bagotville, Q…

Fighter Jet Fight Club: Typhoon vs. Silent Eagle!

When the UK, Spain, Germany, and Italy got together to design the Eurofighter Typhoon, one wonders why they simply did not decide to procure the F-15 Eagle instead.  Instead, they decided to to go one better and develop a new medium-sized multirole fighter.  In theory, this had the benefit of both producing a fighter for the 21st century (hence the "Eurofighter 2000" moniker) as well as keeping the European aerospace industry up to date.

Did they succeed?  In a word...  Yes.  But not without difficulty.  The Typhoon program has been beset with cost overruns, maintenance issues, and dissent among the partner nations.  Much of this is due to simple timing.  With the Cold War ended, many questioned the need for a cutting edge fighter. In recent years, economic concerns have led to austerity measures.  Now, the Eurofighter partners are looking for foreign buyers to help breath new life into the Typhoon.

The F-15 had no such issues.  As the USAF's "golden child" it…

The countdown begins...

A Canadian federal election planned for fall of next year.  This means that the current parliamentary session will see all sides in full "Election Mode" as the 2015 election cycle unofficially begins.  Criticisms will be hurled, diatribes spoken, and pundits will be punditing.

Expect the Senate scandal to be a hot topic, naturally.  There will also be debate about the controversial changes to the criminal code.  There will also be discussion about Canada's continued involvement overseas combined with our militaries abysmal procurement process.

 A controversial F-35 purchase announcement, followed by a reset, followed by whatever the heck is happening now is more than enough to put the current Conservative government in the opposition's crosshairs.  If that was not enough, there is still the matter of a stillborn FWSAR replacement, the expensive shipbuilding strategy, and a military budget that in no way matches Canada's ambitions.

Of course, the Conservative g…