|CF 35 Lightning II|
As we continue to talk about the potential purchase of up to 66 CF-35 Lightning II Fighter jets there are many questions about cost and if this plane is the right thing for Canadian defence.
|CF18's are still a very good aircraft but are getting old in the tooth |
(long hours on their airframes and components)
Many have said that the fighter is inappropriate for the north as it is a single engine aircraft. Canada has used CF 104 Star fighters as a single engine Jet fighter in its intended role but as the need for a low altitude fighter in Germany the CF 104 was pressed into this service. It soon received the nickname for being the widow maker as if there was a mechanical issue the plane and pilot had very few options.
|CF 104 Star fighters|
Should Canada follow the idea of multiple aircraft to do the different jobs that it will be requested of the Canadian air force?
One way to get around this problem is to do what we did in the 1970's and 80's and that is to use a multitude of different planes of different types. In many ways that didn't work out as well as one would hope as the parts, technical crews and simplicity was not there. The mix of old airframes from different ages, companies and technology made the maintenance a huge hassle.
This is the huge benefit of the CF 35.A large number of countries that operate the same aircraft sharing the same technical knowledge and even in some cases the same ground crews. Many countries can take part but the program is in trouble as the costs begin to rise and the uncertainly of the need and use of this fighter.
|UAV and F18 Fighters|
|F18 Fighters in storage|
Or should we purchase less CF 35's and possibly buy some low hour airframes from the American storage areas and upgrade them with CF 35 weapon and helmet systems?
|Boneyard in Arizona with over 4200 US warplanes.|
The new helmet system that is incorporated into the CF-35 is truly world class and makes the fighter a 5th generation machine with huge capabilities.
|New helmet for the advanced weapons systems of the CF 35|
I find it amazing that we find ourselves in a position that is almost the same as when the Avro Arrow was first brought up. Then a high tech fighter that had cost overruns and dubious foreign purchase requests (countries said they would buy but then backed down). This forced the Canadian government to cancel an aircraft that could have in the long run, saved lives, saved maintenance hours, parts purchases, pilot and ground crew cross training hours among many other issues.
We could have seen 1956 NATO air force that used the Avro Arrow as the base model for several countries and would have probably served until the 1980's if not longer.
We planned to purchase 66 Avro Arrows and here we are 60 years later and we plan to purchase 65 CF 35's are we making the same mistakes?