Friday, December 24, 2010

CF-35 Fighters: political monorail?

CF-35 Fighters: a political monorail?

Yes, I dislike war. You can read my other blogs about “green killing machines”, etc, but that is not why I think Canada buying CF-35's is a poor choice.

When Canada was shopping around for our last fighter jet, eventually the CF-18 was chosen. This jet needed to accomplish several key items: land on a US aircraft carrier, be able to bomb, be able to “dogfight” other planes and be able to intercept ruskie Bear bombers on our coastlines (okay, and dazzle people at air shows ).

The CF-18 fit the bill. It was the multi-purpose tool our air force needed to protect our “sovereignty” ( of course, I think the greatest threat to our sovereignty is Stephen Harper, but... ). How has Canada used the CF-18? Pretty well. The CAF has beaten the expected mortality rate ( expected % of planes lost ) on the CF-18's. Our Canadian electronics installed on the plane work great.

Of course, the CF-18 has had limited time as pure fighting machine ( primarily because Canadian politicians thought: by not buying ammunition in peacetime, they could save money, only to find that the US War Time Appropriations Act states that US needs of ammunition will be served before any other nation during war time: whoopsie! Basically neutering our jets in wartime ( don't get me started ) ).

Before you go and think I support the idea of a Canadian military, think again. I think it should be rebranded into a peace keeping force ( don't get me started, again).

But, what is the most useful tool that could support Canadas Air force? Harper thinks that single sourcing, with no competitive process, is a good idea. But, who is questioning if we need fighter planes?

I have a good source that was involved in the purchase and program management of the CF-18 program. When they bought that plane he said “Well, looks like this is last fighter jet Canada will buy”. Why did he say that? Well, being versed in future of all things air force, he knew that UAV's ( unmanned airial vehicles ) would be the future of air combat.

UAV's do not have to take into account the pilots fragility in combat, thus, a UAV in a dogfight can dominate a traditional fighter, since the pilot is on the ground and not “blacking out and workin' like a dog to juggle everything that is going on while flying and trying not to get killed”. It makes sense, a UAV can pull higher “G loads”, can stay aloft and refuel whilst pilots exchange control on the ground ( no need to return to homebase for rest ). I can go on about this, but I think you get it.

Canada should be investing in UAV's and Helicopters for its the CAF. UAV's : scrambling for intercept, e-jamming games with the ruskies, patrolling our waters and desolate areas, and fighting in air-combat, when needed. Helicopters are needed to transport troops, deliver aid and also can be armed for fighting in air-combat.

I think it is time to let the military experts decide what Canadas military needs and stop politicians dictating the best “political solution”. Of course if the USA tells Canada what to buy and when, how sovereign is that?

Think about it. The future of Air Combat is not using a pilot. The future of war is not conventional, its asymmetric. It has been shown again and again, you cannot fight terrorism with conventional war tools. I knew this before Bush invaded Iraq, and it pretty much turned out how I thought: a giant mess!

Off topic, I feel that Canada can maintain the CF-18. We have the companies to do it. Just might create some jobs, good jobs because we do not have to retrain everyone with the new capital equipment, new procedures and throw away our experience for the "bleeding edge of technology".

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