Gilles wrote:koti wrote:Aussies got Growler.
Not true, yet.
Here is one author who thinks that Canada could be better off with a combination F/A-18E and EA-18G Growler working as a team than just having the F-35.
I agree with the idea expressed by this author. Canada faces no real threat worth speaking of, just as Australia has no real enemies and no dangerous threats. I understand their desire to maintain a decent sized fighter force to tackle possible contingencies that today may not have been factored in, but they should evaluate the costs for such options thoroughly and only then commit to it. To me it seems that one of the driving factors behind these F-35 programs are that both nations wish to project a certain capability that backs their economic might, rather than having any major use for such capability.
For Canada, Russia presents a possible threat, but mostly through long range bombers penetrating their airspace. Most of Canada’s population and industrial centers are really far from Russia’s easternmost bases and would present a big challenge for Russia to support a large fighter force attacking them with tanker support being absolutely necessary.
Russian long range bombers can be easily tackled by Super Hornets as well as F-35s, though ideally they’d want a fighter with longer range, endurance and good dash capability. The RuAF is very unlikely to launch a large scale invasion of Canada which requires stealth aircraft to fight off other stealth optimized aircraft (a threat that won’t emerge till 2020 at the very earliest, since PAK-FA won’t enter service before that). As far as expeditionary capability is concerned, the F-35 is definitely a more attractive option than the Super Hornet, but are Super Hornets useless in an expeditionary role? I don’t really think so, otherwise most of NATO will need to re-equip.
I agree with the author- they should look to hold off their F-35 purchase till such a time as when they can evaluate other options that may be available by say 2025. A thorough cost versus gain analysis is needed for Canada to be absolutely sure that it should continue with its F-35 procurement, especially considering how much more costlier and riskier it is compared to the Super Hornet program. the Super Hornet’s twin engines presents an added safety feature for the RCAF especially considering how vast their land mass is and how remote most of it is. A pilot’s chance of recovering safely are definitely improved on a twin engined aircraft with reliable F-414s.