I am including two pieces on the JSF and Canada's decision to move forward with this controversial jet.The first is the typical news article written by the forces but the second is a little more interesting as it is a report from a senate committee hearing. In it they showcase the decision process and at time the candor of the decision.
Canada’s Next Generation Fighter: the F-35 Lightning II
July 16, 2010
The Government of Canada today announced it is acquiring the fifth generation Joint Strike Fighter F-35 Lightning II aircraft to contribute to the modernization of the Canadian Forces, while bringing significant economic benefits and opportunities to regions across Canada.
“The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the best aircraft we can provide our men and women in uniform to face and defeat the challenges of the 21st century,” said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. “This multi-role stealth fighter will help the Canadian Forces defend the sovereignty of Canadian airspace, remain a strong and reliable partner in the defence of North America, and provide Canada with an effective and modern capability for international operations.”
“A lengthy and intense competition was completed in 2001 for who would build the F-35,” said the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women. “Canadian companies and the Canadian government helped develop the F-35, and now we are exercising our option under the Joint Strike Fighter memorandum of understanding to acquire it.”
“Canadian participation in the Joint Strike Fighter program will bring high-value jobs and other economic benefits to our country,” said Jacques Gourde, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and to the Minister of National Revenue and Member of Parliament for Lotbinière-Chutes-de-la-Chaudière. “This government is delivering on our plan to strengthen Canada’s defence industry, leverage Canada’s competitive advantage and work with industry to help position Canadian companies for success in the global marketplace.”
The Government of Canada has committed approximately $9 billion to the acquisition of 65 F-35 aircraft and associated weapons, infrastructure, initial spares, training simulators, contingency funds and project operating costs. Delivery of the new aircraft is expected to start in 2016.
To date, Canada has invested approximately $168 million in the Joint Strike Fighter program. Since 2002, the Government’s participation in the program has led to more than $350 million in contracts for more than 85 Canadian companies, research laboratories, and universities – a clear demonstration of the significant benefits this program has for Canada.
“The Joint Strike Fighter program allows Canadian companies to build on existing strengths and establish strategic capabilities,” said the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry. “Canadian companies will have direct involvement in the design of equipment in the short term, while also setting in motion opportunities for decades to come.”
The Canada First Defence Strategy identifies Canada’s need for a next generation fighter aircraft to protect the safety and security of Canadians, while supporting foreign policy and national security objectives. The acquisition of the F-35 helps the Canadian Forces defend against the threats of the 21st century at home, across vast distances and in harsh environmental conditions, and abroad.
The F-35 Lightning II has been developed by Lockheed Martin and partners through the Joint Strike Fighter program, a multinational effort to build and sustain an affordable, multi-role, next generation stealth fighter aircraft. Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, Turkey, Denmark, Norway, and Australia are all partners in the program.
As a partner in the Joint Strike Fighter program since 1997, Canada participated in the extensive and rigorous U.S.-led competitive process, which led to the selection of Lockheed Martin and its partners as the Joint Strike Fighter manufacturer in 2001.
CAS Lieutenant-General André Deschamps’ Appearance Before the Standing Committee on National Defence
LIEUTENANT-GENERAL ANDRÉ DESCHAMPS
CHIEF OF THE AIR STAFF
CHIEF OF THE AIR STAFF
CANADIAN FORCES OPERATIONAL REQUIREMENTS
AND THE SELECTION OF THE F-35 LIGHTNING II
AND THE SELECTION OF THE F-35 LIGHTNING II
HOUSE OF COMMONS STANDING COMMITTEE
ON NATIONAL DEFENCE
ON NATIONAL DEFENCE
28 OCTOBER 2010
28 OCTOBER 2010
Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the high level mandatory capabilities for Canada’s next fighter aircraft.
You recently had the opportunity to hear from Mr. Dan Ross, our Assistant Deputy Minister for Materiel, concerning the process being used to procure the F-35 as the best-price, best-capability and, thus, best-value fighter for Canadians under the MOU signed by the Joint Strike Fighter program partners. I will therefore focus specifically on Canada’s requirements – and the extensive analysis of options – for the fighter we will use for the next 30 to 40 years.
As I noted previously to this committee, manned fighters are essential to our ability to maintain control and sovereignty over our airspace, whether in Canada or during operations abroad. Neither unmanned aerial vehicles nor any other air platform can carry out this demanding and complex task, whether they are operating in air-to-air or air-to-ground roles. This is the same conclusion reached by many of Canada’s allies.
Following the announcement of the Government’s intent to acquire a next generation fighter in the Canada First Defence Strategy, we examined our requirements very closely and finalized them in early 2010. We looked at future and current roles and missions that our next generation fighter capability would be responsible for and the environment – physical and threat – in which it would be operating.
We need a capability that helps us carry out our core missions of defending the sovereignty of Canadian and North American airspace through NORAD, providing Canada with an effective and modern capability for international operations, and effectively conducting joint operations with our Allies through NATO or a coalition.
We need robust aircraft, capable of operating across Canada's vast geography and under harsh and varying weather conditions and deterring challenges to Canadian sovereignty.
Because we cannot afford to acquire and operate multiple, specialized fighter fleets, tomorrow’s fighter aircraft must be capable of undertaking multiple roles, which comprise a variety of air-to-air and air-to-surface combat roles. In a more generic sense, the fighter must be capable of undertaking the defence roles we demand of it, whether that is northern sovereignty patrols, intercept roles, war-fighting, surveillance and more.
Furthermore, to be prepared for the future, the aircraft must be flexible enough to deal with threats and missions that were unexpected at its time of conception.
We know that some of the threats faced by the CF-18 in the late 20th century have faded, some have continued and new ones have emerged. There is no reason for us to doubt that we will continue to see similar fluidity and evolution in threats as this century unfolds. We assume that technology will continue to evolve on various fronts, such as data processing, threat detection, weapons systems, self-defence suites, and interoperability – to give just a few examples.
Specifically our short list of high level mandatory capabilities, which are qualitative and not quantitative in nature, comprises the following characteristics.
Range: The aircraft must have the range to be capable of deploying in NORAD and NATO alert configuration, in accordance with instrument flying rules without air-to-air refuelling support, whether the aircraft is flying non-stop from a main operating base to a deployed operating base or from a main operating base to a forward operating location with one stop enroute if required.
Endurance: The aircraft must have the endurance to be capable of operating from a main operating base, a deployed operating base or a forward operating location in accordance with instrument flying rules and maintain a combat air patrol in accordance with Canadian Forces, NORAD and NATO requirements.
Speed: Our next fighter must have the speed to be capable of successfully conducting an intercept of air-breathing threats – that is to say, non-ballistic threats such as fighters or bombers – to Canadian airspace or to airspace assigned to the Canadian Forces in accordance with NORAD and NATO standards.
Air-to-Air Refuelling: The fighter must be capable of receiving fuel in-flight to extend its range and endurance.
Deployability: Our next fighter must be capable of deploying to and operating from forward operating locations domestically and worldwide in a full range of geographic, environmental, climatic and threat conditions.
Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance: The fighter must be capable of providing non-traditional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data, before, during and following the deployment of weapons. This capability will assist targeting, intelligence and command entities in a variety of decision-making processes.
Weapons: The aircraft must precisely deliver a range of air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons in all weather conditions, day and night, and in permissive and non-permissive environments to provide a spectrum of tailored weapons effects.
Survivability: The aircraft must be capable of defending itself by employing a range of self-defence technologies and minimizing the risk of detection, engagement and damage in predicted threat environments.
Growth Potential: The aircraft must be capable of continuous upgrade to its level of interoperability, survivability and operational capabilities for the duration of its lifetime.
Fleet Size: The fleet must be large enough to conduct assigned missions and roles while simultaneously maintaining combat-ready force generation capability (that is, training new crews and maintenance of aircraft).
Certification: The aircraft must be capable of certifcation and sustainment in accordance with Canadian standards.
Delivery: The delivery times must give us the capability of achieving an initial operating capability of the new aircraft coordinated with the CF-188 Hornet’s end of lifetime. In other words, the new fighter must begin delivery in 2016 to allow overlap with the Hornet’s projected retirement in 2020 and thus avoid a gap in our defence capabilities by ensuring that such needs as trained crews are are ready to go. In procurement terms, that is almost tomorrow!
The analysis of the quantitative mandatory requirements associated with these high-level mandatory capabilities for Canada’s next fighter made it clear that only a 5th generation fighter could satisfy our mission needs in the increasingly complex future security environment.
The F-35 Lightning II is the only aircraft that meets our mandatory requirements and the only 5th generation aircraft available to Canada. The 5th generation F-22 Raptor is an excellent air superiority fighter that is being upgraded through the addition of selected capabilities that have their origin in the F-35, but the United States government does not permit foreign sales. Russia has a 5th generation under development, and China is expected to do the same.
Three key capabilities distinguish a 5th generation fighter from a 4th generation:
First, interoperability – a unique combination of stealth, long-range high resolution sensors and secure high-capacity networks that allow aircraft to communicate with one another and share data in a secure environment.
Secondly, sensors and data fusion – a system that consolidates tactical information from the sensors and off-board sources to provide pilots with a clear understanding of the tactical situation at a glance.
And, thirdly, survivability – that is very low observable stealth, advanced sensors, a comprehensive self-defence suite, and secure data-link that mean a 5th generation aircraft can accomplish more in a mission with fewer supporting assets.
It is important to be clear that a 4th generation aircraft cannot be upgraded to a 5th generation aircraft. You cannot turn a 4th generation CF-18, even a modernized version such as ours, into a 5th generation stealth aircraft.]
The F-35 Lightning II represents a revolutionary difference from previous generations of fighters in terms of capabilities, and it brings unique advantages.
It brings stealth technology – low observability – that will significantly reduce the aircraft’s electromagnetic signature and therefore reduce detection by enemy sensor systems. It provides lower risk and improved survivability for the pilot as well as enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities – all of which have significant relevance across the Government of Canada’s defence priorities of national, continental and international operations.
It possesses advanced sensor and data fusion technology that will gather, synthesize and display information to help pilots understand the tactical situation at a glance, make complex tactical decisions quickly, and take decisive action. The aircraft takes care of much of the data gathering and synthesis that pilots now have to do themselves, and which has become almost overwhelming in its quantity and speed. In effect, the aircraft is the co-pilot.
We will have interoperability with our partners and Allies that will be seamless, safe and effective within NORAD and NATO and on coalition operations.
The F-35 allows us to share its entire situational awareness with partner aircraft. When we go into operations abroad with coalition like-minded nations with the same platform, the aircraft are the same. Therefore, we can share resources and quickly go into an operation without weeks of training because we have the same kit and software as our partners. It makes a big difference in how we’re going to do business as a coalition.
Furthermore, the aircraft is sustainable. We will be able to replace lost aircraft – or acquire additional aircraft if the future global situation demands it – because the production line will operate until at least 2035.
Software will be upgraded on an ongoing basis and we will not have to contract individually for upgrades, bringing huge savings and keeping the aircraft up to date as technology evolves.
In conclusion, given the increasingly complex and uncertain future security environment, the F-35 Lightning II will provide Canada with the greatest probability of mission success and the greatest probability that our men and women will survive and return safely from their missions.
We are acquiring the F-35 Lightning II to protect Canadian interests and to counter tomorrow’s threats. Procured and sustained through the JSF Program, the F-35 is the best value for our taxpayer dollar, and will keep Canada at the forefront of fighter operations – enabling our fleet to remain relevant, flexible, viable and sustainable well into the middle of this century.
The F-35 Lightning II is not an unnecessary luxury. It is the right tool, at the best value, to properly do the job that Canada and Canadians want their Air Force to carry out on their behalf.
Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen. I would be happy to address any questions you have about the high level mandatory capabilities for our next generation fighter.