Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A few facts for Canada's F-35 debacle would be nice

Funny if it were not so sad, reading comments by people that do not know what they are talking about.

"All reasonable people agree that we need aircraft to defend Canadian sovereignty and our plan is on track."


Gee, that makes a difference. Everything is OK now.

The lack of understanding by those that should know better is really shocking.

I figure if Canada is so set on getting the F-35, they better decide on more service life extension efforts for their CF-18s.

One would think center-barrel replacement but then you also have all that other stuff like wing wear and corrosion.

You see, when you pull an F-18 apart to do that work, each airframe is a little bit different with what ails it.

Oh the fun. I can see the stripped CF-18s up on saw-horses now. So can you if you take a minute to think about the corner DND has painted themselves into.

Still, if one is just talking air-policing and the occasional Operation: USELESS DIRT deployment, another SLEP on the CF-18s still comes out cheaper. Well, depending how many years the SLEP is good for--flight airframe and all that.

I am sure Boeing could fix all this up right now if DND was to realize their mental disability and instead sign up for some Super Hornets and move on.

I wonder if Mackay's crew still thinks "peak-production" for the F-35 along with a fantasy low price will be in 2016?

Arrogance and ignorance probably will not let them admit the mistakes.


Anonymous said...

Putting it in blunt terms is what Eric does best, one can see... But this is a very objective and fair piece too I feel and beggars real debate.

A few discrepancies still exist and definite flags should be raised here.

Currently there are IIRC, 9 F-35 to be delivered by end of 2020 with the initial 4 (training?) aircraft delivered in 2018 and 2019. These 9 would form up with the possible 13 delivered by end of 2021 to give 2 IOC operational squadrons by 2022.

The CF-18 were planned for retirement starting in 2017 and the centre-barrel bolstered hornets retiring by 2020.

There was NO intent of funding planned for follow-on Avionics upgrades!

Quite likely, at least one hornet squadron could operate through 2025 as is.

Talk about some huge risk in order to maintain the Crusade.

Another question could be...

if Canada (about to enter into austere budget environments in order to achieve balanced budgets by 2015/2016) can't even fund modernized avionics upgrades to keep their hornets credible by the end of the decade... how does DND assume to update/upgrade F-35 avionics/hardware every 2-4 yrs staying within their measly estimated Total Program Budget based on obsolete SAR estimates and CY2002 estimates?

As much as I'd love to see 65 affordable CF-35s fulfilling an uneventful and on-budget Life span beyond 2050... the ducks just don't seem to be lining up.

Mike M. said...

E/Fs...surplus RAF Eurofighters...or even F-22s. Canada could get approved for those.

nico said...

After the debacle of buying used subs from UK, doubt the Canucks will be in a great hurry to buy "gently used, lots of hours left Eurofighters",.....oh by the way,small detail, they are Tranche 1 and you have to pay for all the upgrades! LOL

Graeme said...

My guess is that Canada will end up with 2x squadrons of F18 Superhornets - i.e. less than 50 combat coded aircraft.

Why - economic malaise in this decade will crimp defense budgets.

Cocidius said...

Boeing could take care of Canada's needs tomorrow but instead of the F-18E/F I was think more along the lines of the F-15SE.

With a price tag of $100 million each, an 800 mile combat radius, two engines,and equipped with the most powerful(US)AESA radar currently in use the APG-82 it would be a natural for ASA missions out over the arctic.

Link 16, Sniper IRST, common weapons, and similar avionics to the US F-15's/F-22's based in Alaska would make the plane interoperable with the USAF and NATO partners.

geogen said...

Cocidius -

If the CF-35 acquisition for whatever reason does start to unravel or become a reevaluated concern, then I'd probably concur with your preference for the F-15E type platform as the prudent alternative for Canada. As cost-effective as it is for a modern day transonic strike-fighter, my gut feeling is that Canada could in fact require a longer ranged and faster multi-role platform such a notional 'F-15CA Northern Eagle'.

The added surveillance capability would come in the form of superior sensor performance in radar and flexibly-integrated FLIR and IRST.

I'd envision redirecting some of the monies intended for the F-35's 'probe install' and bock IV/V upgrade to go into a jointly developed, more aerodynamic and lighter tactical CFT. Maybe something in a 500 US gal capacity.

The F-15SE however is still an uncertainty and is a long way off. Although, it very possible that some of the systems advertised for it such as the big screen displays, DEWS suite inlet blockers and and LO applications could eventually be retrofitted to the initial procured lots. It would likely be more than $100m, but probably still cheaper than an F-35 by 2015. Maybe $110m for Total flyaway in 2011 dollars (not incuding IRST or MAWS).

Maybe something like 55 fully equipped Northern Eagles (with IRST and MAWS) in snow splinter paint scheme + an additional 3-4x G550 dual-band AWACS... for possibly around the cost of 65 F-35A block III/IV. They could probably start delivery 1-2 yrs earlier too, to relieve the CF-18 sooner.

Atticus said...