Is the Harper government going to consider alternatives to the F-35?

The Canadian Press talked to the commander of the Air Force and came away with the understanding that other options have yet to be considered. National Defence promptly attempts to clarify.

But in a statement released late Monday, the air force said “work continues on the evaluation of options” mandated by the government and that “information shared with a reporter was incorrect.” It insisted work is progressing, without addressing the central question of whether other contenders such as the Super Hornet or the Eurofighter were up for consideration. “The options analysis is a full evaluation of choices, not simply a refresh of the work that was done before,” said the statement. “This detailed evaluation will provide the best available information about the range of choices that could do the job required.”

Yet, when Blondin was asked twice during the interview whether other aircraft had been considered, he replied: “No.” Industry sources say competing contractors have not been asked to provide information.




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Is the Harper government going to consider alternatives to the F-35?

  1. I really don’t understand the Conservatives hesitance to consider going through a proper, rigorous procurement process that assesses all of the available choices. The F-35 may well be the best plane for the job, but why not hold a proper competition to make sure?

    • Because they don’t want us to know the criteria used.

      After all, most Canadians understand that a short range bomber with stealth capabilities able to penetrate and destroy radar and air defense targets while co-ordinating with US forces probably isn’t going to be used for defending Canada, but rather for projecting US force outward into the middle east and Europe.

      And Canadians aren’t going to want to be the ones paying for that.

      • It would be helpful if Canadians were even privy to the debate.This has to be one of the most egregious aspects of this govt – not that they have outlandish ideas, but that they wont even permit any of those ideas to see the light of day in open debate where there is a risk of them losing, or even be modified in any way. It’s governing by stealth.

        • Ironically, given your last statement, “stealth” is the prime virtue cited for the F-35.

  2. I don’t understand why the advanced F-15E+ Strike Eagle is not considered on the evaluation of options.
    The F-15 is a combat-proven aircraft the Canadian’s should be considering to fulfill
    their air force requirements instead of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Eurofighter Typhoon.

    The F-15 can be modified with the APG-82
    AESA, supercruising F110-GE-132 engines with 2-D or 3-D thrust vectoring nozzles which needs to
    be considered, DEWS (Digital Electronic Warfare System), NG (Next Generation)
    3-D touch screen cockpit display, digital fly-by-wire flight control system,
    IRST sensor pod etc.

    The reason why the F-15 is a combat proven aircraft
    is because, during action in the Persian Gulf, Kosovo, Balkans and recently in
    Afghanistan the F-15 showed its superior ability to perform missions required of
    the F-X (Fighter Experimental).

    The F-15 family of aircraft has a
    perfect air-to-air combat record of more than 104 victories and zero defeats.
    F-15s shot down four MiG-29 fighters during the Balkan conflict and 33 of the 35
    fixed-wing Iraqi Air Forces aircraft lost in air combat during Operation Desert
    Storm. During the Balkan conflict, the F-15E was the only fighter able to attack
    ground targets around the clock, in all weather conditions. The F-15 aircraft
    are used by the Air Force against terrorist targets.

    The F-15 has a
    fantastic long range/endurance, bigger weapons payload and speed capabilities
    than its F-X competitors. The aircraft will get into a fight, strike with a
    lethal mix of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, and return more effectively
    than the other (small airframes with short range such as F/A-18 Super Hornet,
    Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-35 JSF) F-X
    aircraft.

    The F-15 is in production. Boeing has built more than 1,500 of
    all its F-15 models and the company has extended the F-15 production line well
    into the 2020s to attract and satisfy new and existing customers.
    Why is the Super Hornet or Typhoon a wrong option to replace the CF-18A/B Hornets?
    There is absolutely nothing super about this Hornet

    What concerns me about this aircraft there was damning report in areas critical operational requirements, while praising it for its improved aircraft carrier capabilities when compared to the original Hornet – something not high on my list of essential criteria.

    Three sentences on page eight of the report say it all: “The consequences of low specific excess power in comparison to the threat are poor climb rates, poor sustained turn capability and low maximum speed which shows the aircraft doesn’t have the performance envelope of a true air superiority fighter. Of greatest tactical significance is the lower maximum speed of the F/A-18E/F since this precludes the ability to avoid or disengage from aerial combat. In this regard, the F/A-18E/F is only marginally inferior to the F/A-18C/D, whose specific excess power is also considerably inferior to that of the primary threat, the MiG-29.”
    It is been acknowledged in the report as being no match for even the older and newer MiG-29 family. Space precludes quoting the report’s comments on the multitude of other areas where the Super Hornet is inferior to the 1970s-designed and 1980s-built original F/A-18 aircraft. Admittedly the Block II Super Hornet has a new APG-79 AESA radar and some electronic components not in the version Coyle gave evidence on, but the fundamental airframe and performance remain unaltered: it is heavier, slower, larger and uglier (its radar signature did not measure up to expectations) than the normal Hornet.

    The Super Hornets will also be outclassed by the Su-27/30 Flanker family of
    fighters by most regional nations in all key performance parameters, aerodynamic
    and radar performance by widely available fighters. Evidently the underwing aero-acoustic environment and resulting vibrations are so violent that some weapons are being damaged in transit to the target on a single flight – dumb bombs are fine in that environment but not long-range missiles containing sophisticated and relatively delicate components.
    You can watch on YouTube footage the simulation example of how the US Navy Super Hornets got decimated against the Su-35S in air-to-air combat. Its called Simulation Showing F/A-18F vs Su-35S Pt 3 of 6. It was from H3 MilSim presentation created by RepSim Pty of Australia.
    Canada needs to get out of this “Hornet country” arena.

    The Typhoon, however will compete with the Su-27/30 family in terms of close combat manoeuvrability and dash
    acceleration, but it will not have a decisive advantage in systems and sensors and
    cannot match the radar range of the Irbis-E from the Su-35S, it will not match a supercruise
    engine equipped Flanker and the Typhoon equipped with conformal fuel tanks being considered to add extra range which also shows that it will not be competitive against the Su-35S on any
    parameters, the Sukhoi will outclass it across the
    board.

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