Monday, August 29, 2016

The Five Fighters





With Canadian government recently making public its "Industry Consultation Questionnaire", we may now be in the home stretch in finding out what will eventually replace the CF-18.

With that, I thought it would prudent to re-visit each of the fighters vying for the position of Canada's next fighter.  A lot has changed since I wrote the blurbs in the right-hand column.  Also, the questionnaire gives us better context into how the government will decide.

In the upcoming weeks, I will be updating the pages that focus on the five fighters.  This includes the F-35, Super Hornet, Gripen, Typhoon, and Rafale.  Fans of the F-15SE, Arrow, and others have my apologies, but there are not being considered.  (Sorry, eh?)

Each post will follow a specific format:

History

A lot can be learned by examining an aircraft's history.  How it came to be developed, what roles it has taken, and how successful it has been both in sales and in combat.

Technology

Each fighter has unique features that make it stand out.  Stealth, sensors, countermeasures...  They all add up to make a fighter "cutting edge.

Performance

Fighter aircraft live or die (literally) based on their speed, maneuverability, range, and other parameters.  Top Gun never would have been a blockbuster if Tom Cruise flew an air balloon instead of an F-14.

Weapons

It is important to remember that fighters are not weapons in and of themselves, but rather part of a weapon system.  The modern fighter is only as good as the ordinance it can deliver

Is it right for Canada?

Just because a fighter is right for some other nation does not make it suitable for us.  How well does a particular fighter fit in with the reality of our nation's politics, budget, and defence infrastructure?  This is, after all, Best Fighter for Canada.  

What are its chances of replacing the CF-18?

Military procurements are high-stake affairs.  Decisions are made based on a myriad of factors.  Offset deals, political pressure, financing agreements, and even currency fluctuations all play a role.  Here I will try and play bookie and estimate the odds of a particular aircraft eventually getting the nod.  (Harsh reality will not necessarily follow my own personal preference.)


Hopefully, my posting frequency will stay well ahead of any incoming news.  

As usual...  Stay tuned.

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