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Showing posts from February, 2019

A TALE OF TWO FIGHTERS

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In 1959, the Avro Arrow was canceled by then-Prime Minister John Diefenbaker.  After sixty years, many still view the decision with disgust.  For them, the Avro Arrow was more than an interceptor; it was the embodiment of Canadian pride.  The Arrow was proof that the Canadian aerospace was on par, if not superior to, anything else in the world.

In retrospect, those people were right.

The Arrow was Canada's last serious effort to design its own fighter jet.  Not only that, Canada has pretty much given up designing any military aircraft since then.  The CP-107 Argus ASW aircraft, developed alongside the Arrow, failed to justify a Canadian successor after   The far less ambitious DHC-4 Caribou's lineage died after the DHC-5 Caribou.

While Canada still maintains a robust aerospace industry, it is dwarfed by the American and European giants.  Our largest indigenous aerospace manufacturer, Bombardier specializes in small regional airliners and business jets.  While this is nothi…

F-15X?

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Here we go again...

After finding out that nobody was interested in its "stealthy" F-15SE Silent Eagle, Boeing is now promoting yet another F-15 variant, the F-15X "Super Eagle".

Those of you not familiar with the "Silent Eagle" can be forgiven.  Boeing concocted the idea when it realized it was running out of fighters to build.  The F-15SE was a valiant effort.  Building upon the much loved F-15E Strike Eagle, the SE updated the platform with modern avionics, sensors, and even stealth improvements.  Aimed towards current F-15 operators, the Silent Eagle promised a happy compromise between the F-35 bleeding edge stealth and the F-15's performance and reliability.

Unfortunately for Boeing, the Silent Eagle never found a buyer.  The closest it came was South Korea's FX-III competition, when its competitors (Typhoon and F-35) failed to meet budget targets.  In the end, South Korea decided on a reduced number of F-35s instead.

One can understand th…

WHAT? THE JSF IS STILL TROUBLED?

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Forgive me if this post seems a bit like a rant.  I've been fighting both a gastrointestinal infection and a lung infection for the last few days and the meds are only helping me so much...

The United States Government Accountability Office recently released its yearly report on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.  This 2018 report is of importance because the decision to enter full production will be made in October this year.

Spoiler alert:  Despite being in development for over 17 years, there are still major deficiencies in aircraft performance, longevity, and even safety.  Even with the current problems, the US Department of Defense "plans to defer resolving some critical deficiencies found in testing until after its full-rate production decision in October 2019, even though DOD’s policy states that critical deficiencies generally will be resolved before then."

It would seem "concurrency" is the gift that keeps on giving.  Why mess around recalling and retrof…

POLITICS MATTER.

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Why is the fighter jet debate so fraught with political baggage?

A recurring theme of the fighter jet debate is that it would go immensely smoother if it were not for all the partisan grandstanding and bickering gumming up the process.  Politics has a nasty habit of delaying or sometime outright ending a promising defence acquisition.  Politicians, eager to sway public favor, will demonize a program while in opposition, only to bungle the process themselves once in power.

Much like being stuck for 10 minutes in the Tim Horton's drive-through, it is a Canadian tradition.  It is also infuriating.


Going all the way back to the Avro Arrow (and even further back), Canadian military procurement has been fraught with political intervention.  It has become so commonplace that it is difficult to find an example where politics has not played a major role.

The FWSAR replacement was a prime example.  What should have been a straight-forward process ended up taking well over a decade (and c…