a reply to: Zaphod58
Let me preface the following with this disclaimer: I do not like the F-35. I believe it does not meet the expectations that were set at the beginning
the program, particularly with regards to the timeline, and cost. I think the program has been horrendously mismanaged, and as a result will not
achieve nearly the financial success that they had planned for. I think the aircraft is not as effective as it could be, and I think it contains
features which have been overhyped and simply end up being removed as dead weight further into the aircraft's lifetime. End disclaimer.
The F-35 is what Canada will buy, and it's what Canada should buy given the current political situation. As much as I hate to say those words, they
are the truth as best as I can determine it. Canada is, by nature, a militarily small nation. We do not have the population, the logistic support, or,
really, the will to maintain a large defence force. We cannot support a large, diverse military ecosystem with best of everything. If it somehow
appeared on our doorstep, it would be ill-maintained and manned. Our air fleet is going to be small. That's the reality of it. What we need is a tool
that lets us be capable of the most things with the small force that we have.
NATO comes with responsibilities. We have to contribute certain forces to NATO actions. We do so currently with our forces of CF-188s, and they do
their job. But that won't last forever. The future holds these aircraft falling apart, and if we send them into action anyway they'll be going up
against ever more advanced technology as it spreads from the big superpowers we won't be going to war with down to the small ones we will get sucked
into. These aircraft need to be replaced at this time. The question, therefore, becomes: what to replace it with?
The answer's actually obvious, and it will look familiar: we need to replace it with whatever we can buy few of, but do the most with. What would
that be? Well, let's look:
Dassault Rafale: $100 million
Eurofighter Typhoon: $124 million
Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet: $60 million
F-15SE Silent Eagle: $100 million
Saab JAS-39NG $114 million
F-35A Lightning II: $100 million (assuming deal)
This list is pretty simple. If you read this forum and you're not a blathering idiot, then you know what these aircraft can do. It becomes a question
of cost versus capability. This is simple. You have an entire host of old airframes with upgrades, or an entirely new one built with all the
newfangled technologies in mind. As much as I think the F-35 could have been much more than it is, the fact is that it's the best deal on the list.
The Super Hornet's price is right, but it's not a better deal than the F-35. It's the same quality, but for a shorter term. And then you end up in
the same hole again with an airframe a generation older than everyone else's. Buy the F-35, and it puts on the same operation capability as a unit of
US F-35s, and while it's never the best of anything, it gives us options.
So while I think the F-35 isn't the plane it could be, the design process was terrible, and Canada's procurement process was farcical, it is still
the aircraft we are going to buy. And, it's the aircraft we should buy, because it gives us the best capability, present and future, for what dollars
Personally, I want a high-speed, twin-engine interceptor to patrol our northern expanses, but it ain't gonna happen.