Saturday, July 9, 2016

Is Canada actually getting a fighter competition?

Badass Defence Minister looking like he's going to drop some fresh rhymes.  
 A few weeks of rumors indicated that Canada was going to sole-source the purchase Super Hornets as an interim solution to our aging fighter jet woes.  However, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan announced in a press conference that his department has made no decision yet.

Instead, Sajjan announced that officials from the DND and other departments will meet with the various fighter manufacturers to assess the options.  Previous requirements (that were written around the F-35) have been unceremoniously tossed aside.
"Officials will seek up-to-date information from leading manufacturers on key issues, including cost, economic benefits for Canada, and their ability to deliver planes quickly," he said. "That information will inform a decision on a procurement path in the coming months."
While details are scarce, Sajjan's press conference did reveal some interesting tidbits.

  • Canada's current fleet of 77 CF-18s is not enough to meet Canada's commitments to NORAD and NATO.  
  • The RCAF is on the brink of not only a "capability gap" but the possibility of a "capability loss".  
  • Even with planned upgrades and life extensions, our CF-18s' are on borrowed time.
  • Assessing a manufacturer's ability to "deliver planes quickly" seems to indicate that deliveries are intended for sooner rather than later.  
Canadian officials should have ample opportunity to assess the different fighters at the upcoming Farnborough International Airshow later this week.  Discussions will be held with not only the manufacturers, but with current users of the fighters in question.  Conspicuously, this includes non-JSF users like France, Germany, and Sweden.  

The best news of all?  Saab, which at one point bowed out of the running for Canada's next fighter, was included in a conference call.  That's right...  The Gripen may be again in the running.

Considering Canada's recent commitment to NATO, this could very well be the start of positive change.  

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