Showing posts from November, 2016

Best (Interim) Fighter for Canada

Last week, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan announced that Canada would take steps to acquire 18 Boeing Super Hornets to help the RCAF deal with a "capability gap".  This would then be followed by a full, open competition to replace Canada's fleet of CF-18s.

This announcement was timely, as less than a week later, tragedy struck the RCAF.

There is still a great amount of debate as to the political motivations behind the Liberal government's move.

Will sole-sourcing the Super Hornet as an interim fighter give it an unfair advantage over the other fighters in a competition?Is the RCAF really in dire need of new fighters so badly that it cannot wait a few more years?Canada already has more than enough information to render a decision on a full fighter buy.An open competition should be able to be completed with fighter delivery beginning by 2025. The Liberal Government will have their feet held to the fire answering these questions, and rightly so.      Most of these qu…

Interim Super Hornets: Winners and Losers

After more than a year of speculation, the Liberal government has announced its plan to replace the RCAF's aging fleet of CF-18 Hornets.  An election promise to walk away from the F-35, combined with promise to hold an open and fair competition meant there was going to be some sort of a shake-up.

Things were shaken up even more when Harjit Sajjan, Canada's newly appointed Minister of Defence, announced that the RCAF's current CF-18 fleet was in worse condition then initially thought and that Canada was faced with a "capability gap".

Rumors circulated during the summer that Canada would announce the sole-source procurement of a small number of Super Hornets to be used as an interim solution.  This week, the Federal Government announced exactly that.  Canada will procure 18 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, followed shortly by a full and open fighter competition that will last approximately five years.  Canada will continue to act as a JSF industrial partner during this …

RCAF to receive 18 Super Hornets, followed by competition.

In a news conference today, it was confirmed that Canada will indeed acquire 18 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets.  The Super Hornet will act as an "interim" fighter alongside the current CF-18 fleet to help mitigate the "capability gap" as the current fleet flies long past its prime.  Canada will then conduct a "open and fair competition" to find a permanent CF-18 replacement for the late 2020s.

Canadian government officials will immediately begin negotiations with Boeing and the US government to acquire 18 Super Hornets.  During this time, additional resources will be devoted to Canada's current CF-18 fleet to keep them flying and even expand their current role.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan clarified that Canada will remain on as a JSF partner for the time being.

The full-blown fighter competition will occur upon the conclusion of Canada's Defence Policy Review that is currently underway.  Using that review as a guide, a new fighter will be selected …

Canada to acquire 18 "interim" Super Hornets

CBC news has just reported that the Canadian government will announce the purchase of 18 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets as a "stop-gap" measure.

More on this story as it develops.

Canada to purchase 18 Super Hornet fighter jets. Unclear whether they will be new or used. More details expected at 1 pm ET briefing. — CBC News Alerts (@CBCAlerts) November 22, 2016

There has never been a better time for Canada to leave the JSF program.

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing." -Theodore Roosevelt
It has now been over a year since the Trudeau Liberal have assumed power in the Canadian parliament.  One year is an acceptable amount of time for all the new ministers and cabinet members to get up to speed on their new portfolios.  Now is the time to start making decisions.  
For Canada's CF-18 replacement, the time for "industry consultation" is over.  The time has come to issue a statement of requirements, followed by selection.  Canada can no longer participate in Schrödinger's fighter program, where it is both a JSF partner and not at the same time.  It is now time to make the final decision.  
That decision should be to leave the JSF program and declare an open competition.  
There has never been a more sensible time for Canada should say "Thanks, but no thanks." to the F-35.  

It is still not ready for prime-time…

Trump was elected: Now what?

[Note:  I take little joy in this post.  As much as I would like to discuss fighter jets, Trump's election will have a profound effect on Canada's defence policy.  There is no ignoring the big, orange elephant in the room.  That being said, let us get this out of the way.]

Full disclaimer:  I am no fan of Trump.  He in a privileged, obnoxious demagogue who somehow manipulated enough of the American public to become their President-elect.  For years he has cultivated his brand into the point of a cult of personality.  His election strategy was based on hate, scapegoating, and xenophobia.  Whether or not this continues into his presidency remains to be seen.  I, like many Canadians, find Trump and his rhetoric abhorrent.  He is a hypocrite the very personification of the "elitist" that he has demonized in his calls to "drain the swamp".

Donald Trump is everything ugly about America.

He is now their President-elect.

So now what?

Like it or not (and I don&#…

Yet another F-35 spontaneously combusts...

For the third time in the JSF's controversial timeline, an F-35 has self-immolated.

In September, an F-35A caught fire.  This was after a supposed fix to the "engine rub" issue that caused the first infamous flare-up

This time, the dubious honor goes to the STOVL F-35B.  What also makes this incident different is the fact that the fire seemed to originate from the weapon bay instead of the engine.  (Although the F-35B's vertical lift fan is located between the weapon bays.)

The big question here is:  WHY ARE F-35'S SO FLAMABLE?

Does it have to do with the JSF's complicated "fueldraulic" system that used its jet fuel in place of hydraulic fluid to save weight?

Is there an issue with heat build up in the weapon bays?  (This would be bad!)

Is the aircraft's stealthiness to blame?

Its lack of fire suppression system?

Whatever the case, Lockheed Martin and the JPO had better find out fast.  Apparently; the new Commander-in-Chief is not a fan.

The Trump Factor. [POLITICAL RANT!]

[NOTE:  As much as I enjoy discussing politics, I am loathe to do so on this blog.  That goes double for American politics.  Like most Canadians, however, I have an EXTREME dislike for the 2016 GOP presidential candidate.  To me, he embodies the worst that America has to offer.  Obnoxious, arrogant, bloviating...  He is the living stereotype of the crass American that Canadians fear they will get stuck sitting next to on a transatlantic flight.  I will attempt to stay focused here...  But please forgive me if I run off the rails.]

As the 2016 American election comes to a close, most are breathing a sigh of relief that Donald Trump's chances of becoming the next President of the United States of America are becoming progressively slimmer.  A controversial nominee from the very start of his political career (and even before), Trump's presidential campaign has been marred by charges of racism and sexual misconduct.

Normally, bragging about how not paying taxes for twenty years m…

Enter the (Mighty) Dragon.

I apologize for my extended vacation from the blog.  There has not been a lot of aviation-related news lately, and the Clinton/Trump debacle of 2016 has most of my attention.  (Enough that I have an extended rant ready to post about how Trump's candidacy will effect Canada's long-term defence needs.)

We can thank China for giving us aviation buffs something to talk about.  Not one, but two J-20 "Mighty Dragons" made its public debut the other day, after years of being a poorly kept secret.  While its performance and equipment specifications are still relatively unknown, China has made it very clear that it is now making 5th generation stealth fighters.

From a design standpoint, the J-20 is clearly aimed at the F-22 and the Russian PAK FA.  Unlike the F-35, this is a big twin-engined fighter.  Also similar to the F-22 and PAK FA, the J-20 utilizes four (not two) internal weapon bays.  Its forward weapon bays, likely dedicated to IR-guided A2A missiles, utilized a in…