PICKING A WINNER.
Now that we are down to the final stretch of the Future Fighter Capability Project (FFCP), it seems only right to devote some time learning about how the winner will be ultimately chosen.
Some suggest that the Joint Strike Fighter's selection is a foregone conclusion. This is due to the F-35 winning similar competitions in Switzerland and Finland. While this is an important bellwether, it should be noted that these competitions were held using different parameters and criteria. It should also be noted that both announcements have met with skepticism and protest. This is especially true when it comes to claims the F-35 won on "economical" grounds. It turns out the one of the reasons why the F-35 was cheaper was because it would be flown only 140 hours per year instead of 180. Other aspects of the competitions seem to give the F-35 distinct advantages as well. (This might be worth its blog post...)
Whatever the case, it is important to remember that Canada's selection process is unique; as are each bid.
Contrary to what some people believe, the winner will not be decided by jet fighter fanboys arguing over the internet. Nor will it be decided by a vote in the House of Commons (not directly; more on this later), Prime Minister Trudeau, nor Royal Decree by the Queen herself. Contacting your MP about your favorite fighter will be of little use.
The truth is much more mundane and boring. Canada's next fighter will be decided by *GASP* A COMMITTEE.
Try to contain your excitement.
Canadian military purchases go through a five step process:
- Identification. This defines the need in broad terms. In this case, a fighter jet capable of fulfilling Canada's needs.
- Options Analysis. Finding out exactly what Canada needs are and what options are available.
- Definition. This step concentrates on HOW Canada's needs are to be met. For the FFCP, this is the current stage.
- Implementation: Procuring the new equipment, setting up, and initial training.
- Closeout: When all contract obligations are met and operating capabilities have been achieved.