All County, All the Time Since 2010 MAKE THIS YOUR PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY HOME...PAGE!  Tuesday, December 1st, 2020

Seeking your opinion on the F35 procurement

I would like to start a blog thread specifically related to the F35 procurement discussions across Canada – and during this election.

The Pentagon has this week come out with its own concern and has promised review across the board.
Even they do not ‘buy’ the numbers being thrown around worldwide on the F35…nor do they buy the performance and maintenance claims / 20 year service.

I would like to see opinions from the County residents – especially being so close to Trenton.

Here are some initial thoughts of my own after researching:
What are the F-35’s competitors?
Boeing is pushing the F-15 Silent Eagle and the Super Hornet, and the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Dassault Rafale are available in Europe.
———————————–
“The Pentagon’s new forecast represents a significant increase even over what the U.S. expected,” said Williams, who is an outspoken critic of the program. “The simple fact is we just don’t know how much we’ll spend. It just lends more weight to the argument that we should wait.”
Repeated warnings about costs spurred the F-35 project office at the Pentagon to commit last week to a sweeping review of what it will take to maintain the aircraft over the long haul.

The study, ordered by project executive officer Vice-Admiral David Venlet, will look at the design of the aircraft to try to figure out what is driving the costs into the stratosphere.
“The service chiefs look at the estimates of the maintenance cost and it makes their knees go weak,” said Venlet, according to an April 22 transcript of his remarks. “There is an estimate. We know that is not the right number.”

A second, separate report prepared two years ago by the U.S. naval air systems command said long-term support could hit $443 billion, but that estimate was in 2002 dollars.
Venlet said even that is too high. Williams said there’s a lot of uncertainty in the numbers because the plane is still in development and has no maintenance history.
————————–
Ok. So the Pentagon isn’t ‘buying’ the F-35 CRAP – but Stephen Harper Government is? What’s not right about ‘This Picture’?
————————–
In Canada we have 5 years more before these drafting board losers fly our skies – BUT we Canadian TAXPAYERS have to PAY beginning in 3 years to FUND their completion?

AND THIS PICTURE ISN’T ALL SCREWED UP?

We have 5 YEARS to design and build OUR OWN Fighter/Interceptor. We don’t need BOMBERS and any aircraft designed today will be ‘stealth’ capable.

We PROVED we can design and build military aircraft that outperformed anyone’s aircraft -in ANY country more than 20 YEARS after ours had greater speed and could fly to the edge of space.

The airframe was WAY ahead of it’s time and the Iroquois engines were beyond ANYTHING the best in the rest of the world could produce. = IS IT NOT SENSIBLE AND FINANCIALLY PRUDENT TO DO IT AGAIN?

We have the expertise in Canada – Bombardier / Aerospace companies / Talent / Brilliance / The National Will /…and any  additional talent we need we can HIRE from anywhere in the world!

-By 2014 ( Advanced Payment date to the U.S. for the lame duck F35) we can have much completed already with 2 more years to complete well before any F35’s are delivered!  ANYONE who thinks they’re intelligent HAS to see this. We’ve DONE this before…Proven!  Game-Set-Match.

TIME NOW  to bring back a new version of THE ARROW CF 105 – We CAN afford it against the F35 and we WILL DO A MUCH SUPERIOR AIRCRAFT to do the job for 20 years. -NO FEAR. All it takes is  a NATIONAL WILL

The original flight tests via CF-105 exact copy model were fired over Lake Ontario – right here in our own County. They were highly successful and led to 7 aircraft being produced in various formats including our own ‘Proven’ Made In Canada Iroquois engines.

Please discuss this at this juncture in Canadian history:

We NEED Jobs. We HAVE the expertise. We NEED the aircraft. We NEED to spend out TAX dollars wisely and prudently. We CAN do this in less time and for way less money than the current 148 Million (initial cost only) -for each F35 – putting our money into the U.S. economy – instead of where it belongs – In OURS.

We have done this already and WE CAN DO IT AGAIN. The F35 deal says we PAY the U.S. up front to help fund their development of the F35 and 2 years earlier than we get any planes. Those planes are already passe – even before they are built. Let us as Canadians build our own fighter/interceptor ( we don’t need bombers) – We can design our own equipment for OUR needs in Canada INCLUDING the Arctic Sovereignty we need to defend ( F-35 has only 1 engine – our current CF-18’s have 2)

Time we woke up. Time we harnessed some National Will. Time we did this ourselves, AGAIN, – a Canadian solution for a Canadian need.

Rob Collett

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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  1. Rob says:

    alloycowboy and Geoff Koh are Seriously examining this whole issue of out definite need to give our forces – at home- the equipment they need badly…in a timely fashion and within an affordable taxpayer’s budget.

    This is a Very Expensive purchase…anyone else weigh in here?
    We’ve got some highly intelligent analytical minds in the County as well as those on or close to Trenton – aka professional Canadian defenders.

    This is a Post Election examination, after all..that we’ll pay for over many years – With Interest I’m sure.

  2. Geoff Koh says:

    “The tactical SYSTEMS sir, which are even more important in the mid-term, than the raw VLO airframe which would otherwise strip an initial customer of resources to instead update and procure the more game-changing systems!”

    Fudge it all. 😛 The above should read:

    “Yes, it’s the actual tactical SYSTEMS sir, which are even more important in the mid-term than the raw semi-VLO airframe expected to be IOC in 2018 that will strip the initial customer of better-spent resources allowing for more critical and timely updates and the actual game-changing systems/weapons as noted!

  3. Geoff Koh says:

    Alloycowboy,

    You have to be careful when quoting and relying too heavily on Wiki when defending your position. And btw, when using your Wiki source, the Concorde apparently had a life-span-safe max speed at 2.04, not 2.02, although the M2.02 quote was quoted as being the more optimal fuel-efficient speed due to drag. 🙂

    Anyway, if you are wanting to spend 2x as much per jet for CAF’s replacement programme, just so you have better RF LO than other alternatives, then fine… cough up some extra taxes for it to justify your confidence.

    But if you are willing to accept an alternative tactical platform (under either a Lease contract or Buy), you will get a more affordable purchase which would allow for also better equipping and better upgrading the actual tactical systems and weapons, as they become mature and made available on the market. The tactical SYSTEMS sir, which are even more important in the mid-term, than the raw VLO airframe which would otherwise strip an initial customer of resources to instead update and procure the more game-changing systems!

    And lastly, as someone else said, an even more mature and modern 5.5 to 6 gen Tactical aircraft will be developed around the corner… using the mistakes of both the F-22 and especially the F-35 as a learning curve!

    So I guess the point blank question would have to be: What is one’s motive to keep a blind eye and stay the course on the risky and unsustainable F-35 track – regardless of the facts available on which to make more calculated and better strategic plans?

  4. alloycowboy says:

    Hey Rob,

    You have to be careful when looking at top speed of aircraft. It’s real easy to get fixated on it. Top speeds obtained by stripped down aircraft with pilots wearing pressure suits and the aircraft flying at high altitude are not indicative of the aircrafts real world performance. Most aircraft that fly above mach 2 are usually damaged by the supersonic heating effect. Which is why on most modern fighter jets the computers retards the throttle so the pilot won’t over speed the aircraft. In fact the top speed of the Concord is limited to mach 2.02 because any faster and the skin temperature would exceed 127 C degrees which would shorten the life of the aircraft.

    The top speed of the F-35 is limited by the F-35 Diverterless Supersonic Inlet air intake. The literature put out by Lockheed Martin quotes Mach 1.62 as max speed. But considering a modified F-16 went mach 2 in testing with a DSI I think it’s safe to say that Lockheed Martin is sand bagging on the max speed number of the F-35.

    http://www.codeonemagazine.com/article.html?item_id=58

    As for the F-15’s range that is a deceiving number because that is done with external fuel tanks not on internal fuel alone. External fuel tanks give an aicraft the Radar Cross Section of a flying barn which is why they are not used operationally for combat on the F-22.

    http://attach.high-g.net/attachments/f_22_raptor_125.jpg

  5. Rob says:

    The interesting thing about Miss Piggy is that she can haul ass up to 1650 mph with internal weapons bays, not external.
    These pods can also be subbed for long range fuel tanks.
    Range of the F-15 Silent Eagle should be 5,550 kms – way beyond the F35 which is down at 580 miles or something in the ballpark.

    Granted the F22 top end would eat them both from behind at in excess of Mach 2.4

    I still believe we could do better than all with a 12 year plan, the will and some positive attitude. For the money in the meantime, I’d bet we could mod an F-15 to outperform what’s on the board – for our needs. If we had Mach 2 50 years ago with altitudes touching edge of space and internal weapons to reduce radar footprint a half century ago, Fly By Wire to boot, I still don’t see why it’s claimed we couldn’t do a better version now – with today’s
    materials, computer design, engine and fuels for today and 50 years of so many tries by manufacturers all around the world to evaluate?

  6. alloycowboy says:

    No offence but the F-15 had its first flight in 1972 and is an antique as far as fighter technology goes. While Boeing would like you to believe that F-15 Silent Eagle is stealthy the truth is that it is only stealthier then a regular F-15. Also no matter how Boeing tries to doll up the F-15 it is still going to be just “lipstick on a pig.”

    What Winslow Wheeler and the Rand Corp. fail to understand is that as soon as you hang weapons on a fighter you dramatically decrease the top speed, range, and maneverability of a fighter jet. In fact most aircraft have speed restrictions when weapons are under the wings in order to prevent structural damage to the aircraft.

    With the F-35 the weapons are moved internally to the weapons bay and their fore the aircraft is only limited by the maximum thrust of the F-135 engine or the maximum speed restrictions of the aircraft. So while other aircraft are limited will be limited to transonic speeds when armed the F-35 will be able to hit mid supersonic speeds and fire weapons at those speeds as well.

  7. 131stfwfan says:

    To keep this comment short and sweet, Canada should not be so foolish as to keep all it’s eggs in one basket, an unproven basket at that. If they have to settle with one airframe, then have it be a Block III F/A-18 Super Hornet variant, similar to the one proposed to India.

    You get a third of the price tag (roughly), some common ground with the CF-18’s, and a proven airframe. By the time IOC comes around with the F-35 a sixth gen. fighter will already be on the drawling boards. Again this is all just generalization, but it’s the truth. Not to mention the SH production line is in desperate need of some international orders, and compromise’s on them would be easy.

    The F-15 idea would not be horrible either.

  8. Geoff Koh says:

    I thought you might like that ‘next-gen’ Super Eagle concept… and concur, it might take some vision and more up to date mindset in terms of thinking more strategic and calculating.

    But I have to say your last post was pretty outstanding and very well outlined. I’m usually pretty outside-the-box oriented in my approach to analysis and cost-effectiveness… but that entry to this whole discussion just took the bar up to a whole new level. That was some very balanced and pragmatic thinking, while centering fully on an optimal strategic approach to this truly important CF-18 replacement issue.

    I hope this blog of yours makes an impact and am glad I could be part of it, merely stumbling across it on a news search hours after you apparently started it.

  9. Rob says:

    Today, here is another point of view.

     The material below came from Winslow Wheeler, Director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information in the U.S. In December, Wheeler was asked by the Standing Committee on National Defence to testify on Canada’s purchase of the F-35
    .  
    He submitted the written statement below: ( partial)

    
Counting all forms of logistics costs, including contractor supplied logistics, data available to me shows that an F-22 costs more than three times the cost to operate an F-15E.

     No one should be surprised if the same ratio pertains to F-35As and CF-18s.  There is a potentially devastating effect of this high maintenance cost beyond affordability.

     It can reduce the funding available to train pilots in the air.  Precisely that has happened in the U.S. Air Force with the F-22.  With pilot skill being the all important determinant of success in air combat, it is a huge penalty to pay.
In sum, when you put aside all the buzz words, such as “fifth generation” and “stealth,” and look at what you will actually get in an F-35, the high cost begins to look all the more unaffordable. 

Is there a good reason to wait?

     Being in a hurry has consequences.  Like your proposed purchase of F-35s in 2014 before all testing is completed and all costs are known, the United States has been rushing to “buy” before we “fly” for decades.  It has been a disastrous practice, especially for our Air Force.

     A major factor in that unrestrained growth is our penchant for committing to new programs before we know what they will actually cost – and before we know how well, or poorly, they will perform.  We have been making decisions on the basis of poorly supported “buy-in” promises for cost, schedule, and performance.  

    The only way out of this syndrome is to better understand the future consequences of our contemporary decisions: A challenge that faces Canada on the F-35 in a direct and meaningful sense.


    
Of course, you are being told there is reason for deciding now.  Your CF-18s are wearing out, and you have industrial inducements to commit now to the declared future wave of aviation.  Virtually all of NATO faces a similar combat aviation modernization problem and has been offered similar inducements.  However, others are beginning to take a more cautious approach.  More aware than any of the possible downsides of F-35 procurement, the U.S. Navy is keeping alive its F-18 production line, and some there may be beginning to look at alternatives to the naval variant of the F-35.  In the U.S. Air Force, officials are assessing the cost of prolonging F-16 service, and some are even talking more seriously about purchasing new models of the F-16 and F-15. 


    
As you know, some of the foreign partners for the F-35 are having second thoughts, including in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark, and perhaps others.  In Australia, a vocal minority strongly opposes the F-35 purchase.  It would seem that only Israel, which will basically get its F-35s financed by the U.S., is willing to make a new commitment – and Israel’s initial consignment is much smaller than anticipated just a few years ago.

    
 In sum –

 
    • The costs of owning and operating the F-35A are large and growing, but the ultimate endpoint is unknown.
     
    • If every official promise is kept for the F-35A’s physical characteristics, its performance on fundamental measures will be quite modest.  Despite the embellishments of “fifth generation” monikers, the ultimate performance characteristics will not be fully known to you until after you have committed large resources to it – under your government’s current plans.
     
    * All around you, others are hedging their bets, if not altering their commitments regarding this airplane.  Nonetheless, you are being told to forge ahead and to ignore the warning signs.

  10. Rob says:

    http://www.defence.pk/forums/military-forum/23530-boeing-unveils-new-stealthy-f-15-f-15se.html

    * CF 105 Approach to stealth airframe -Weapons are carried internally in the modified conformal fuel tanks (CFTs).F-15 Silent Eagle (F-15SE), a new F-15 configuration designed to meet the future needs of international customers.
    F-15SE represented “a fundamentally different approach” compared with Lockheed Martin, which designed the F-35 from scratch to minimize radar detection.

    *Boeing Unveils New Stealthy F-15

    (F-15SE)
    “We have selectively applied stealth,” he said. “You haven’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

    The aircraft represents “a balanced, affordable approach designed to meet future survivability needs,” Mark Bass, a Boeing vice president, added in a statement.

    “The F-15 Silent Eagle is designed to meet our international customers’ anticipated need for cost-effective stealth technologies, as well as for large and diverse weapons payloads,” said Mark Bass, F-15 Program vice president for Boeing. “The innovative Silent Eagle is a balanced, affordable approach designed to meet future survivability needs.”

    Improvements in stealth include coatings and treatments on the aircraft. With the added advantage of redesigned conformal fuel tanks (CFTs) that allow for internal weapons carriage, the Silent Eagle becomes a very attractive fighter for Boeing’s international customers.

    Depending on the specific mission, the customer can use the CFTs that are designed for internal carriage or change back to the traditional CFTs for optimum fuel capacity and external weapons carriage. The Silent Eagle will be able to internally carry air-to-air missiles such as the AIM-9 and AIM-120 and air-to-ground weapons such as the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and Small Diameter Bomb (SDB). The standard weapons load used on current versions of the F-15 is available with the traditional CFTs installed.

    The aircraft’s canted vertical tails improve aerodynamic efficiency, provide lift, and reduce airframe weight. Another aerodynamic improvement is the Digital Flight Control System, which improves the aircraft’s reliability and reduces airframe weight.

    Survivability improvements include a BAES Digital Electronic Warfare System (DEWS) working in concert with the Raytheon Advanced Electronic Scanning Array (AESA) radar.

    Boeing has completed a conceptual prototype of the CFT internal-carriage concept, and plans to flight-test a prototype by the first quarter of 2010, including a live missile launch.

    The design, development, and test of this internal carriage system are available as a collaborative project with an international aerospace partner.

    This goes to show all the naysayers that you DON’T need a complete redesign of the aircraft to achieve stealth mode (aka JF-17 and J-10B)…check out the clever internal weapons carriage, they didn’t even bother with internal rotating bay….
    a-new multi-role design of its F-15 combat aircraft that would vie for international orders against Lockheed Martin Corp’s (LMT.N) F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
    Improvements in stealth, or radar avoidance, include coatings and treatments on the aircraft. The F-15SE would be able to internally carry air-to-air missiles such as the AIM-9 and AIM-120 and air-to-ground weapons such as the Joint Direct Attack Munition and Small Diameter Bomb.

    Depending on the specific mission, the new F-15 could carry the special fuel tanks designed to create internal weapons bays or swap them out to optimize fuel capacity and external weapons loads, Boeing said.

  11. Rob says:

    Love that last post Geoff http://img824.imageshack.us/img824/3480/f15supereagle.jpg

    Had no internet for 2 days ( 100mph wind damaging Xplornet’s already highly lacking wireless in the County)
    It was excruciating because this discussion is the most exciting I’ve seen in a long, long time. Well researched and thought from all sides.

    I remember suggestions of the Gen Electric engines being possibly utilized for 2 airframes. Haven’t researched yet (offline) – but if we could make a deal – interim – for 10 years using 2 different jets (one with twins and tandem seats for backup and training)….and shave the overall price in half…and work over that time on out own ‘Canadian version’ target 2020 ( intro 8 yrs, on stream 10)
    …I see the huge bonuses in that route.

    I love a Canuck variant of the F-15 to approach what a modern day matured CF-105 could have been Today.

    Keep this pot stirred…we might actually arrive at a decent proposal for the ‘next’ Government Of Canada?

    You guys and gals are so cool.

  12. Geoff Koh says:

    Hey Rob,

    Beyond the Gripen and Super Hornet, I see you consider the F-15 as being able to fit Canada’s future multi-role requirements (especially given it’s long range)?

    In that respect, perhaps yet another option to study could be ‘Lease’ an F-15SA variant (Saudi equivalent, an improved F-15SG) and simultaneously use that model as the basis for a home-grown development (maybe jointly developed by 2nd party), of an extreme-version such as something like this:

    http://img824.imageshack.us/img824/3480/f15supereagle.jpg

    ??

    That would probably get you closer to CF-105’s cruise speed and range (with custom desgined CFT only – no tanks), while further being able to integrate superior Radar, passive sensors and EW suite than the F-35A?

    Sure, it would burn more fuel per 1 hr of flight than most most jets – a more critical issue to tackle these days than ever before – but then the independent, extended range would allow it to carry out a patrol/intercept sortie without the need of a separate Tanker flight (itself burning substantial fuel), which would otherwise be required to in-flight-refuel an F-35 or Super Hornet for that matter.

    So perhaps a balanced mix between CF-15x (45-50 jets), which could be operated by single crew in an interceptor role too… and a future VLO UCAV acquisition to enable even longer-endurance mission capabilites, beyond the other obvious advantages e.g., being Low Observable and being unmanned in a high-threat/risk contingency?

    Who knows… just trying to throw some more into the pot here and get beyond the unfortunately unsustainable (albeit well-intentioned) and simply unrealistic F-35 acquisition paradigm.

  13. Geoff Koh says:

    I sympathise with alloycowboy in his response, although disagree that wikipedia should be a main deciding factor in deciding who wins Canada’s future fighter replacement tender.

    But the cold fact still remains: the still ‘hypothetical’ F-35’s performance and reliability can only be proven once the SDD phase is completed by 2018. And as such, it would simply be an illogical decision and HUGE gamble if one were to place orders before this confidence of a proven and mature airframe were achieved.

    The only logical choice therefore, and one which I’m sure alloycowboy would approve… would be to hold a competitive tender perhaps in the summer of 2012, or 2013 at the latest, in order to better ascertain for the defence interests of Canada, a more accurately updated assessment of her best overall CF-18 replacement option!

    Other than that, I fully concur with Alloycowboy’s last post which addresses fairly an answer to Doris (who’s question seems very well-intentioned) and a more obvious answer to Frak U’s (?) thought.

  14. alloycowboy says:

    Some people asked some interesting questions.

    Question from Frak U: Why not building the F-35 in a single location?

    Answer: The F-35 is to complicated an aircraft to have built in a single location. It would be great if we could build them like Ford model T’s where all the parts were built on site at the Ford Plant and assembled into a car. A single F-35 has over a hundred thousand parts so it is first built up into sub assemblies first around the world then assembled on a moving production line in Fort Worth Texas.

    The advantage of using sub assemblies is that the design and manufactering can be spread out over the participating JSF countries so everyones aerospace manufactering gets a boost and all countries get a returns on investment for the fighters.

    Question from Doris: Why not let the United States do the fighting?

    Answer: It’s unfair to let America fight all the worlds battles with their soldiers and their equipment why Canadian soldiers stay safe in nice cushy peace keep jobs. By doing that we would accept America’s Foreign Policy as the lay of the land and Canada doesn’t want to do that.

  15. Frak U. says:

    The F-35 should be exclusively built by, and in, America alone! In one town to be specific. They should be built at a single LM facility instead of being spread out across nearly all 50 states and soon other countries. The cost, per unit, would go down substantially.

    Too much politics involved in the development and it’s adding to the costs.

  16. Doris Lane says:

    What a lot of comments about these planes.
    Someone said we only need them to protect Canada against Russia but Russia is not a threat. If they decided to come across to Canada they have to fly over Alaska and then the United States would react. Why don’t we just let the United States do the fighting which they are well equiped for and let Canada be a peace keeping nation.
    Canada should not waste money on planes etc they might never need. Not when we have a powerful nation to the south that will not let anyone invade Canada because they own so much of Canada

  17. alloycowboy says:

    F-35 Range

    Okay, lets look at the F-35 range. Wikipedia lists the range of the F-35 on internal fuel as 2,220 km. Is this a good number? Lets look at the F-18E for comparison. The F-18E has a Range of 2,346 km on an internal fuel load of 14,400 lbs of fuel. The F-35A has internal fuel load of 18,500 lbs of fuel. That is the F-35A carries 128.5% more fuel then the F-18E. The F-18E also has two GE F414 engines that are very thirsty with SFC a 0.840 lb/(hr*lbf). The F-35’s “single engine” has an “estimated” SFC of 0.886 lb/(hr*lbf). So the F-35 engine has 5% higher fuel burn per hour. So that tells us that the F-35 range numbers are on the conservative side. I am guessing Lockheed went 10-20% conservative on the range numbers.

    Another factor is that the F-35 will be flying with clean wing most of the time. So it doesn’t take the massive parasitic drag penality that carrying fuel and weapons externally brings. You need to see the drag curves for an airplane to understand how parasite drag rapidly increases with speed!

    http://learn2flylv.com/aerodynamicspage1.htm

    This is the main reason why the F-35 will out perform all fourth generation fighters.

  18. Rob says:

    Robert says:”(SAAB offered 65 to Canada+40 years of maintenance for 6 Billion in Dec 2010).”

    -(1/5 of the F35 pricetag? and 20 additional years maintenance commitment at that price? HOLY MOLY! What a bargain for taxpayers by comparison?)

    ” This aircraft has a superior range to the F-35 and a greater speed (can hit mach 2) and can supercruise.”

    – CF105 could do Mach 2 as well(50 yrs ago)

    “For me the range issue is important (500+ km greater than the F-35) considering we live in the 2nd largest country.”

    – (CF105 did 2500 miles at Mach1 before refueling- 1250 Miles radius deployed return to origin -almost the entire width of Canada)

    “My 2nd vote is for the F-15. JAS Gripen’s do have a 2nd pilot version which is useful for patrolling the arctic.”

    – (Distance to the northern border is approx 1500 miles – CF105 could almost round trip that patrol from Winnipeg itself and it’s a long haul – a second seat for company and training would be useful)

  19. Rob says:

    ….the pot thickens – excellent

    alloycowboy says: “The specifications listed are the minimum base requirements orginally set for the project and not the actual capabilities of the F-35.
    So I would be glad to explain the capabilites of the F-35 to you.”
    ——————

    Please ‘Lead On’ alloycowboy

    …because -In order for Canada to make the best decision, through tender (as opposed to the current flawed process) we need ‘best case information’ to ensure a ‘best’ purchase today. Correct?

  20. Rob says:

    Ohhhh My My…The stew is smelling better all the time!
    You guys ‘rock’ 🙂

  21. Geoff Koh says:

    Interesting viewpoints, Rob… and upon reading Barry Leger’s post per your request, I’d too concur that such an alternative option is perfectly viable and credible as well.

    Perhaps in lieu of a mid-term Gripen “Lease” option, a 10-year block III Super Hornet ‘Lease’ option could be studied as well? Interestingly, both jets could operate with the same common engine, a GE F414 derived engine which could be manufactured in Canada.

    So consider this to further mix up the pot… a 10-yr block 3 Super Hornet ‘Lease’ (which could be picked up on the back-end by USN), while a simultaneous Canadian-designed, F-16XL type delta-winged Super Hornet Programme could form the basis of CAF’s next-gen manned tactical platform? A delta-winged Super Hornet, complete with CFT fuel tanks, next-gen avionics/systems and next-gen F414 engines could turn the current Super Hornet into quite a sleek, extended-ranged multi-role interceptor? There could even be some export potential for that mod, who knows.

  22. Robert says:

    It is time that people stop calling the F-35 a truly stealth fighter. It is not an all aspect stealth fighter. In fact it is only stealth in the front facing direction and is considered to be only stealth to certain types of radars. The more powerful new generation installations which use L-band (I think it’s L) can detect the stealth capabilities of the F-35. The F-35 is not capable of mach 2, it is not capable of sustained supersonic flight, it does not have extreme maneuverability and it has a short range. It does not have the ability for external weapons carrying either and is a single engine single pilot plane.

    My vote is for the JAS Gripen. It is cheap (SAAB offered 65 to Canada+40 years of maintenance for 6 Billion in Dec 2010). This aircraft has a superior range to the F-35 and a greater speed (can hit mach 2) and can supercruise. For me the range issue is important (500+ km greater than the F-35) considering we live in the 2nd largest country. My 2nd vote is for the F-15. JAS Gripen’s do have a 2nd pilot version which is useful for patrolling the arctic.

  23. Rob says:

    …and Barry Leger’s outline is just too good to tamper with. Please read it in it’s entirety. I am heavily pulled toward his sense that the F/A-18 Super Hornet in various configurations may just be a huge ‘Ace in the hole’ in this poker game of procurement of necessary tools for our girls and boys in uniform. – and they ARE necessary.

  24. Rob says:

    By the way…please read again Geoff Koh’s suggested option as well as Barry Leger – Both highly intelligent and well thought out options for Canada. I like Geoff’s thoughts re a mid lease Canadian version Saab JAS 39 Gripen (If Sweden has the will with even less population than Canada…what are we afraid of?)

    “Gripen is no ordinary fighter. It is your pride. It is your wings. Through a long-term partnership, generating lasting national benefits, Gripen is committed to your future. Supported by a powerful business network, we can offer viable business opportunities and innovative financing, tailor-made for your nation.” single engine could be reworked into a dual for Canadian geography?
    —————————————–

    – or even Typhoon ( Australia is probably backed away from F35 and is entertaining the Oz version Typhoon in part.)

    I read 4 countries are actually building their own version of the Typhoon ( much of it anyway ) in their own countries employing their own people to do so. Win/Win

    Either way there are seemingly much superior Options out there. Maybe it’s time we all took greater interest in finding the Best Overall solution through research and the Tendering processes…rather than just having 1 man do an untendered deal with OUR money?

  25. Rob says:

    Thank you for weighing in CAF and all. Let’s stir the pot a bit:

    F22 is, arguably, a superior fighter interceptor – with twin engines to boot.-Good. (Think Arctic vast patrolling) U.S.A. is reluctant to sell them and has more than a hundred brand new on the tarmac…unused. Good for them Bad for us.

    F35 has 738 miles MAXIMUM radius flight – arguably way too short for the expanses of Canada. Bad. It has to be repainted with stealth coating Every mission. Bad.
    Single engine. Bad. 148 Million price-tag now (according to Pentagon sources and they should know the real tag) Very Bad.

    F-22 Raptor

    This is probably the best fighter plane ever made. It is a  fifth generation  fighter  aircraft  that utilizes fourth generation Stealth Technology. It was designed as an air superiority fighter for use against Soviet Air Force but is also equipped with ground attack,  electronic warfare  and signals intelligence roles as well. Raptor combines stealth, speed, agility, precision and situational awareness with air-to-air and air-to-ground combat capabilities, makes it the best overall fighter in the world.

    People poo poo the Arrow CF105. This aircraft was OURS and could be built again with the WILL to do so. -Quote from fighter-planes.com ” This aircraft was ahead of it’s time and COULD STILL BE A FRONT LINE FIGHTER IN TODAY’S HIGH TECH WARFARE WORLD”

    The airframe itself was also very advanced. It was 80ft long, had a wing span of 50ft and was 21 ft high (at tip of fin). It had a fuel capacity of 2800 gallons of fuel and could fly at mach 1 for 2.5 hours without refueling. It could also pull 2G at Mach 1.5 > without losing an inch of altitude or a knot of speed!

    The Arrow cost 300M to develop, and another 200M was required to finish the 31 frames on the assembly line.
    Afterwards, new models would cost under 5M a piece.
    – 1/2 Billion for 31 flying aircraft which NOBODY in the world could even closely match. 5Million / plane after that!

    http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread627524/pg1

    The CF-105 was a delta-winged, big, fast interceptor. The production aircraft would have had 11700kg Orenda Iroquois engines, but the prototypes were powered by the far less powerful J75. The Arrow was a very promising aircraft, but was cancelled for political reasons, together with the Iroquois engine. Six built.
    It was designed to cope with the threat of Soviet nuclear bombers coming over the arctic. From 1953 to 1959,

    The Avro team designed and built one of the most sophisticated aircraft of the world. This aircraft was ahead of its time and could still be a front line fighter in today’s high tech warfare world. But unfortunately, the Conservative government of the time, led by John Diefenbaker, cancelled the project and ordered all aircraft to be destroyed.

    Diefenbaker said the project was canned because jet fighters were “obsolete”, then the US told us to buy F-18As in a 5billion dollar deal.

    THANK A CONSERVATIVE QUASI GOVERNMENT FOR THE BIGGEST CANADIAN LOSS IN OUR HISTORY.

    The Arrow was a source of national pride, incorporating advanced technical innovations. It was the first plane capable of flying by wire, and capable of MACH 2+, with computer control and integral missile system. The Arrow was the most advanced fighter in the world at that time, with a top speed of 1,650 mph (2,640 kph).

    Flight Magazine called it “the biggest, most powerful, most expensive and potentially the fastest fighter that the world has yet seen.” THAT’s TODAY.

    Built by head designer James Floyd and his team of aeronautical scientists, the plane was flown by test pilot Janusz Zurakowski on March 25, 1958.

    The world best fighter/interceptor/bomber 50 years ahead of it’s time cost a mere 12.5 M dollars apiece in 1959 Canadian dollars. That price went down after the cementing of the project to a mere 5 Million apiece.

    Canada could build it today for ..arguably 50 Million for each unit after setup. That would be 1/3 the cost of what the F35 would cost 3 to 5 years from now. Money better spent even at 3 times the cost – BECAUSE THE ARROW WOULD BLOW AWAY THE COMPETITION. Nay sayers all get into a life raft and be towed out into Lake Ontario! You’re faint of heart…incredibly negative and JUST WRONG – as Diefenbaker was 50 years ago.

    Dief HIMSELF, on the Arrow ..and I quote: “Here was an instrument beautiful in appearance, powerful, a tribute to Canadian production…. ” Unquote

    I think we should chance it for Canada…our honour and our capability, our integrity and our pride. Money BETTER spent..even if just to yield solid high tech employment for the next 30 years and the next generation.

  26. Geoff Koh says:

    To Beth:

    That’s a highly worthy sentiment to consider, thanks for that input in this debate.

    With regards specifically to potentially having a ‘future’ VLO capability deployed within the CAF, that is also a credible supposition. Perhaps a very credible and more plausible solution however, could be supplemented with ‘mixing’ CAF’s next-gen fighter mix, with both an economical (very low Life Cycle Costing) manned and upgradeable fighter-interceptor acquisition, plus an unmanned VLO UCAV asset by 2020, such as those which are currently undergoing development by numerous industries?

    That would seem to give future Canadian warfighters even more superior, more flexible and more cost-effective future warfighting capabilities and survivability – albeit with less risk that comes with gambling and crossing fingers (praying) over the 90s era conceived F-35 option?

  27. alloycowboy says:

    As an aeronautical engineer I can tell you comparing the capabailities between the F-35 and F-18 are like comparing a WWI Sopwithcamel’s to WWII Spitfire’s. Twenty years is the gap between those two fighters and it will be over 20 years between the first flight of the F-18E and the delivery of Canada’s first F-35.

    I also guessing you probably looked at the spefications up for the F-35 on wikipedia and they came out less then flattering because the specifications listed are the minimum base requirements orginally set for the project and not the actual capabilities of the F-35.

    So I would be glad to explain the capabilites of the F-35 to you.

  28. Beth says:

    I am a supporter of the purchase of the F35s. Our Military is fighting with outdated equipment, many fighters included. Why shouldn’t our pilots have access to stealth technology? Our military is very important and with the Trenton Air Base as our neighbours, I want to see these guys with the equipment they need to carry out the missions they are assigned and have the best chance possible of coming home safe, in one piece. You may not agree, but that’s how I feel.

  29. Geoff Koh says:

    While it would seem like a no-brainer for Canada to initiate some sort of accelerated domestic-designed fighter-interceptor programme, it is most likely not that simple a prospect. Perhaps it is a prudent and acceptable decision for a 2025 IOC target however. If this option is studied and thus decided to be in Canada’s best overall interests, then the question becomes: what is the most cost-effective, interim stopgap TACAIR solution?? That folks would be the $148m CAD question (if going the route of a future, domestic-designed TACAIR Programme). In this case, maybe there is a 10-12 yr mid-term LEASE option which could be contemplated and studied. Perhaps a very cheap Gripen ‘Lease’ in the short-term (with GE-Aviation-Canada manufacturing the reliable F414 engines?) could further parlay into such a future Canadian-designed, evolved, Super-Gripen concept too?

    Regardless, the F-35 procurement dream is simply not sustainable, nor will wind up producing anywhere close to what is still officially being advertised. God speed CAF.

  30. murrey says:

    i agree fully about buying something no one knows the final cost of is foolish. We don’t need astealth first strike aircraft.
    Just my thoughts on this.

  31. CAFSupporter says:

    Although I would like to say Canada could build a new fighter but realistically it is not true. A person only has to look at Japan’s F-2 fighter to see how long and how costly a fighter program can be. The F-2 is a design based on a F-16 but designed and built in Japan. It is a bit more capable than a regular f-16 but is double the cost. $100 million per aircraft when an F-16 was going for $50 million. Also take into consideration that Japan has been building fighters for the last few decades and Canada has stopped decades ago and the cost of a Canadian fighter would be much more than a F-35.

    As for the competitors the Silent Eagle has not yet flown and will be more money than a F-15K at $120 million (plus huge operating costs), Typhoon’s cost are close to $130 a piece (from recent bids in India and Brazil), Rafale was reported to be even more expensive (which is probably a reason why they have never exported any). Which leaves the Super Hornet.

    People say the Super Hornet is around $50 million according to Boeing but recent Navy buys are upwards of $90 million a piece. Australia paid $3 billion for 24 Super Hornets and another $3 billion for 10 years of support, so they are not that cheap.
    Some other facts about the Super Hornet, the airframe may have some stealth features but it in no way is it a stealth aircraft. With weapon pylons, weapons, targeting pods and drop fuel tanks all hanging off the wings the Super Hornet is not an improvement over our current CF-18.

    Also the Super Hornet due to outward toed and canted pylons creates huge drag penalties. The Super Hornet with pylons and weapons attached can not go supersonic. Unlike the F-35 which can carry an comparible load internally and with no drag penalties can maintain most of it’s speed and agility. The Super Hornet has the nickname of Super Slow Hornet for a good reason.

    The Super Hornet production line stops in 2015, the Australians who bought 24 SH’s to replace their F-111s are selling theirs back to the US Navy when they recieve their F-35s.

    Stealth is a new capability like radar was decades ago in fighter design. All new fighter designs incorporate stealth, PAK-FA, J-20, KF-X, ATD-X are some examples. If Canada does not purchase F-35 with its stealth features we resign our Air Force to secondary or third rate duties in a future coalition conflict.

  32. Barry says:

    A more important question: Why are we buying more planes to bomb countries who have done nothing to us in the first place? I’m sick of my taxes being used to pay for these bogus wars for Freedom®.

  33. michael marshall says:

    A STEALTH bomber for a STEALTH government – is Harper the JOHN BUCHANAN of federal wasteful spending ?
    After waiting weeks for the WAR ROOMS of the Bloc/Libs/NDP to say this, I can wait no longer:

    As the Chronicle Herald’s Stephen Mahar can attest , the average Nova Scotian no longer assumes, a la GTA-ville, that Tories are naturally prudent money managers.

    Not after the horrors (the horrors) of the Buchanan years – the Tories here wasted our way into a debt hole we may never climb out of.

    Yes, the Buchanan Tories were the traditional image of the penny-pinching Tory when it came to allocate money on projects they weren’t personally interested in.

    But when it came to money on ‘Tory toys for the Tory boys’ , the treasury door was wide open. And then some.

    It turned out that John Buchanan and his cronies had some personal projects they simply couldn’t say ‘NO’ to.

    Similarly, Stephen Harper has delighted in cutting public funding to anything he doesn’t personally value.

    I guess this is just one of the perks of having the support of 1/3 of the 1/2 of eligible Canadians who bothered to vote in 2008.

    Yet he is willing to gut money we should be spending now on RENEWABLE energy research to prepare for a post fossil fuel world, to pay for cost overruns on his favorite toy:

    The F-35 STEALTH bomber.

    How oddly appropriate .

    If the Harper government will be remembered for anything by history, it will be for governing by stealth and secrecy.

    So a stealth bomber as the physical symbol and visible monument of a stealth government.

    A ‘sneaky’ toy for a ‘sneaky’ boy …

  34. Barry Leger says:

    I agree with your contenders as alternatives to the F-35. I have read in publications that the off-the –shelf cost for a Super Hornet is in the order of 50 million, a Silent Eagle would run about double this at $100 million, and the JSF about $150 million. Given this, my vote would be for the F/A-18 Super Hornet, and he is why:

    It is as capable as the F-35, less expensive, has two engines instead of one, and the “F” model has two seats instead of one that allows for instructor/student training. It is also a proven aircraft that is still in production and is presently used by the US Navy and Australian Air Force. Its electronics are state-of-the-art. The “G” model can be used for electronic warfare, which in future conflicts will become increasingly important. The only aircraft that is currently operational and that is more advanced than the Super Hornet is the incredibly expensive F-22 Raptor (which will never be made available for sale). The Super Hornet is a “generation 4.5” aircraft, meaning that most of its features are 5th generation, with exception of stealth.

    In fact, the only attribute that may be superior on the F-35 over the Super Hornet is stealth. The Super Hornet has or will have the same or similar Active Electronically Scanned Array radar and Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability, similar to the F-35. With the US Navy considering further purchases, this aircraft will not become obsolete any sooner than will the F-35. I would also like to note that, except for the F-22 Raptor, the F/A-18E Super Hornet is presently the MOST stealthy aircraft flying today, and upgrades to further enhance its stealth and other characteristics are underway (increased thrust engines, stealth weapon pod and conformal tanks). So for half to a third of the cost, the Super Hornet would have all the same capabilities, and would be the third most stealthy aircraft aside from the F-22 and the F-35.

    This is truly a case of “bang for the buck. The F-35 was originally conceived as being the “inexpensive” 5th generation fighter aircraft, however, aside for the F-22, it is likely going to be the MOST expensive fighter aircraft ever designed. One of the reasons for the huge development cost is that the Joint Strike Fighter was conceived from the start to appeal to the Air Force, Navy and Marines, thus, its design had to be compromised to consider carrier landings, and vertical takeoff / landing – like a Swiss army knife, the aircraft is tasked with too many functions. Consider that in purchasing the F-35A model, Canada is subsidizing the cost of the US Navy and Marine variants.

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