Posts Tagged ‘F35’

The government has got itself in an interesting dilemma. If we procure the super hornet, this may be all we will get, and may only be a question of adding aircraft numbers as we go along. Is there a first step violation here?

To me, there has to be some critical strategic and historical thinking about all this. To fly the F35 to 2070 is 55 years. 55 years ago we were just seriously entering the jet age. If the evolution of drones or other advances do not overtake the F35 long before 2070, I would be very surprised.

Here is something to think about. Considering the argument of the age of competitors, we should consider that over half the cost, and increasing rapidly, is the avionics suite; all the computers, sensors, radar, countermeasures, communications, data links and weapons. Current aircraft are not flying with original 25 year old electronic suites, not by a long shot. This means that the airframe and engine are becoming more and more just a platform for the weapons and avionics, and not the critical path. So any competitor could theoretically be upgraded to near 5th generation capabilities, and retain the airframe and engines. I suggest that geometry will not remain a deciding factor for stealth much longer.   The question becomes; which platform is best suited for such evolution. Is this the Super Hornet, the Gripen, Typhoon, Rafale? The F35 is certainly not optimized for such as range, speed, manoeuvrability or weapons capacity.

A lot of money is at stake here and we would be prudent to be very cautious. There is no immediate fighter threat to Canada here, and we can always do our share and contribute to international military and peace operations in many other ways.