We've done the impossible... And that makes us mighty.
-Captain Malcom Reynolds (Firefly)
The people of Canada spoke loud and clear last night.
After a record long campaign, the Liberal Party of Canada emerged victorious as the new government-elect. One of the highlights of their platform was to "immediately launch an open and transparent competition to replace the CF-18 fighter aircraft.” Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has gone on the record stating that the F-35's “stealth first-strike capability” is not needed to defend Canada, and the funds saved by going with a more affordable aircraft would be used to shore up Canada's already-troubled National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS).
Canada's election results are already sending a ripple throughout the Joint Strike Fighter program. If the LPC keeps its promise, we will be the first major JSF partner to walk away from the program. This could give other potential F-35 buyers second thoughts. The JSF's laundry list of issues and increasing costs certainly will not help matters.
|Time to bail.|
So where does that leave us?
From the first time I put virtual pen-to-paper at Gripen for Canada, my intent was always for Canada to take a sober, second look at its JSF purchase. The F-35 does not seem to meet Canada's strategic needs, nor its financial capabilities.
With the JSF now out effectively out of the picture, attention will now focus on the other options.
The Boeing Super Hornet is still the odds-on favorite, but it would be foolish to discount the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Dassault Rafale. Both "eurocanards" have done fairly well in export sales lately.
Saab has mentioned that it would re-evaluate its participation based on Canada's requirements. With the F-35 gone and a renewed focus on affordability, the Saab Gripen would seem to be an extremely attractive option.
|There still might be a "Gripen 4 Canada".|
As for me... The time has come for me to take a break from blogging for a while.
It will likely be a few months before any "open and transparent" fighter competition is announced. This sits just well with me... I'm exhausted. I will use this time to take a step back and regather my wits. (The upcoming release of Fallout 4 may or may not have something to do with this decision.)
In a few days, I will be disabling the comment section. While I welcome the discussion, I simply do not have time to moderate the hundreds of daily comments. This will not mean the end of discussion however.
I will continue to participate and post at the two Facebook groups Best Fighter for Canada and Gripen for Canada. All are welcome to join the discussion. The groups are closed simply to cut out spam posts, any request to join is usually accepted within an hour. Please join us if you have not already.
Hopefully, if and when a competition is announced, I will return here and re-open the comment section.
Until then, I want to thank you all for your readership, comments, and your page clicks. This blog has become far more successful than I ever could have imagined... And I owe it all to you. Thanks to you, we have made Canada's next fighter purchase a priority to the incoming government.
I hope to see you again soon. Until then...