Showing posts from September, 2015

Meanwhile... In the rest of the world.

When South Korea announced plans to buy 40 F-35 Lightning IIs last year, part of the justification was that South Korea would have access to technologies to help it build its own indigenous fighter.  That no longer seems to be the case.

The South Korean F-35 acquisition has been controversial at best.  The JSF was first considered too expensive to procure, only for the bidding process to be abandoned and the F-35 chosen anyway.  While both Eurofighter and Boeing were able to get their Typhoon and Silent Eagle bids under the $7.2 billion (US) budget, that same money could only swing 40 F-35s.

It makes you wonder how much further the South Korean deal will be altered.

There is a great deal of bluster about how much cheaper the F-35 is getting as it nears full-rate production.  This may or may not be true for the USA, but it is certainly false for the rest of us given the rise in the value of the US dollar.


QOTW: Will procurement policy influence your vote?

Now that we know where the major political parties stand on the CF-18 replacement, there remains a question as to how much this will effect the election.

While the F-35 issue dominated the headlines for a day or so, it seems to have been eclipsed by the controversy surrounding the niqab.  This shows how fickle the news media and the general public can be.

Myself, I feel strongly enough about Canadian military procurement to factor it into my vote.  It is not the be-all, end-all however.  Other issues, such as health care, senate reform, and marijuana legalization concern me just as much.

As usual, I will be voting for the party that most replicates my own views.  I have never shown particular loyalty to a party in the past, and I still remain (mostly) undecided about this current election.

How important is military procurement in your view?  Will it be a primary factor in your vote?  A consideration?  Or do other issues demand your attention more?

Finally, some clarity on where the parties stand.

Well...  That didn't take long.

Shortly after Liberal leader Justin Trudeau announced that his party would scrap the F-35 purchase and hold a competition to replace the CF-18, the other two leaders have (somewhat) clarified their position.

Much like Trudeau, NDP Thomas Mulcair would start a competition.  Unlike the Liberals, the NDP would include the F-35 in the process.  Mulcair took the opportunity to add some campaign rhetoric, slamming Trudeau for disqualifying the F-35.

I will note here that Mulcair and the NDP have (quietly) announced that their position aligns itself with what you will see on this blog.  That is, if the F-35 is to be chosen as replacement for Canada's CF-18s, it should do so based on its own merits and suitability for Canada.

Conservative Party of Canada leader (and current PM) Stephen Harper's response was a little more...  Uh...  Apocalyptic.

Harper lambasted Trudeau's position, implying that pulling out of the JSF program would "crater&…

Liberals promise to scrap the CF-35.


After weeks of pretty much ignoring Canada's current DND procurement woes, a party leader have unequivocally stated their position on Canada's controversial purchase of the F-35 Lightning II.

In a rally held in Halifax today, Liberal Party of Canada leader Justin Trudeau stated, quite bluntly, that the Grits "will not buy the F-35 fighter jet".
Instead, we will launch an open and transparent competition to replace the CF-18s; keeping in mind the primary mission of our fighter aircraft is the defense of North America.  This process will also ensure that bids include guaranteed industrial benefits for Canadian companies and workers.    Trudeau then emphasized that saving money on fighter jets would ensure that monies would not be taken away from shipbuilding in places like the Halifax shipyards.

While this news was a long time coming, it is not entirely unexpected.  Kelowna Liberal candidate and former CF-18 pilot Stephen Fuhr has been quite critical of th…

Saab and Boeing tease their T-X

Saab and Boeing have been pretty tight-lipped about their collaborative bid for the USAF's T-X program.  While other bidders have a preference for existing designs, Saab and Boeing have decided on a clean-sheet design that will most definitely not be a variant of the Gripen.

I have speculated on the Saab/Boeing T-X in the past.  So far, nothing seems to confirm or deny my guesstimates.

Saab and Boeing have been tight-lipped about about their upcoming trainer.  So much so that a recent conference display was by invitation only.  Its only release to the general public is the vague shot of the aircraft's nose that you see above.

While all this secrecy is infuriating to aviation buffs, its not entirely unexpected.  Saab and Boeing are taking the T-X competition very seriously and it does not want to give away too much to their competition.  Saab's CEO seems quite confident in the design however, and looks forward to cooperating with Boeing in the future.

The released pict…

Kuwait buys the Typhoon

The nation of Kuwait recently announced plans to purchase 28 Eurofighter Typhoons to serve alongside its existing fleet of F/A-18C/Ds.

This makes Kuwait the third Gulf Co-Operation Council (GCC) member to choose the Typhoon.  Saudi Arabia has starting taking deliveries on 72, while Oman has 12 ordered.  The Eurofighter consortium is still offering the Typhoon to Qatar, but it looks like they have chosen the Rafale.

While the sale of a mere 28 aircraft seems inconsequential given the scale of the larger F-35 program,  it is certainly welcome news after concerns about a concerns about a manufacturing fault.  Successful marketing of the Typhoon, combined with future improvements, promise to keep the Eurofighter relevant for quite some time.

If anything, this deal is a reminder that the Typhoon should be very near the top of the list when considering Canada's successor to the CF-18 Hornet.

Canada's New Naval Ships: Should one be named "Bluenose"?

It looks like an overwhelming 51% of you think that none of the Canadian political parties have a plan to fix the Department of National Defence's procurement shenanigans.  Oh well, so much for that.

Speaking of procurement shenanigans, Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently announced that Irving Shipyards in Halifax will soon cut steel on the Harry DeWolf (although did so using an American-owned bridge located in Ontario).  The Harry DeWolf marks a major milestone in the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, a project that has already been criticized for being too expensive and too unwieldy to provide Canada's navy with the ships it needs in a timely manner.

Allow me to add two of my own criticisms:

1.  Naming one of the ships after John G. Diefenbaker.  The Prime Minister responsible for devaluing the Canadian dollar and building the infamous "Diefenbunker" to house Canada's leaders in time of nuclear attack.  Most famously, he cancelled the Avro Arrow i…