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Canada Poised To Buy 65 Lockheed Martin F-35 JSFs 417

Posted by samzenpus
from the time-to-fly dept.
Freshly Exhumed (105597) writes 'Canada is poised to buy 65 Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets, sources familiar with the process told Reuters. A detailed, 18-month review of Canada's fighter jet needs has concluded that the government should skip a new competition and proceed with the C$9 billion ($8.22 billion) purchase, three sources said. When the F-35 purchase was first proposed, Canadians were alarmed by the colossal price tag, and also that no fly-off competition had been conducted or was planned. This latest news is sure to rekindle criticism that the RCAF's requirements seem to have been written after the fact to match the F-35's capabilities (or lack thereof)."
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Canada Poised To Buy 65 Lockheed Martin F-35 JSFs

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  • by Neo-Rio-101 (700494) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @10:34PM (#47176737)

    Only recently in Australia did the government suggest that it was going to purchase the F-35 as well. This all became clear in the same budget that suggested raising the pension age to 70 and an increase in taxes, and prompted much outrage.

    Despite the flaws in the F-35, this purchase seems to be more of a five-eyes strategic thing, than it is any burning need to buy these planes.

  • by steveha (103154) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @11:36PM (#47176951) Homepage

    Sometimes a new thing looks like a disaster for a while, but in the long run proves itself. The M-16 rifle is a tremendously successful design, but there were issues with the first models that made it look like a huge mistake.

    So I am watching the F-35 and I am wondering: will this be as big a disaster as the nay-sayers claim, or will this work out in the long run?

    I'm guessing it will limp along as a middle-of-the-road thing: not a complete horrible disaster, just a really expensive airplane that doesn't live up to its expectations.

    Also, I have read that it is intended that a bunch of F-35s will share data with each other, and help each other detect and deal with threats; but the giant costs of the program have made it much less likely that enough F-35s will fly together at one time for this to work out.

    One thing I am certain about: It's a mistake to try to replace the A-10 Warthog with F-35s. I don't even understand how the F-35 is supposed to do the same mission.

    http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/01/a-10-f-35-air-force-budget [motherjones.com]

  • Re:Russia (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @11:49PM (#47176985)

    Just a handful of nukes is all you need.

    North Korea has Seoul in artillery range and a Chinese protector. They didn't need nukes from 1953 through 2009, and they weren't invaded even when it was well-known that they were developing nukes. See also: Iran.

  • by timeOday (582209) on Friday June 06, 2014 @12:47AM (#47177167)

    One thing I am certain about: It's a mistake to try to replace the A-10 Warthog with F-35s. I don't even understand how the F-35 is supposed to do the same mission.

    That's like asking how a rifle can possibly replace a pike, since it can't do the same thing. The F35's sensors and guided munitions are multiple generations more advanced, so it does the same mission from well outside of gun/eyeball range.

    All these posts comparing the F35 to much older aircraft like the F18 on the basis of airframe are clueless. It's all about the sensors, weapons, and comms. The part you can see from the outside is just to get you there. (Of course, stealth and mach 1+ without afterburners helps with getting there, too).

    Having a fly-off of the F35 against (what exactly?) is like having a race between a Corvette and a Ford Torus. That doesn't necessarily mean the Corvette is a better solution for your needs, and it may well not be a better value. But the differences are big enough to be obvious. Weigh them and make a choice.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06, 2014 @01:55AM (#47177391)

    The population of Canada is 35,105,000 people according to a google search.

    Canada's planned purchase is the 6th-largest by a country and would further safeguard the $399 billion program.

    If that "program" were instead just given to the people (it's their money after all), they'd *EACH* have $11,365 or basically a free car.

    Imagine how much the country would change if every single person's tax dollars provided a voucher for $11,365 off of a vehicle purchase.

    Talk about world change......

  • by flyingfsck (986395) on Friday June 06, 2014 @03:16AM (#47177577)

    It is best to look at this as an economic stimulus for Ontario. The $9B price tag is for the whole package, including the new air force bases, repair facilities, training facilities, spares production, and so on, over the next ten years. An existing programme such as the CF18 will always seem cheaper, since a lot of that already exists. Ontario's economy is in the gutter and they need something to get them going again. It is a Federal way to force Alberta to bail out Ontario, without stepping up the transfer payments.

    The actual planes are not particularly useful at defending Canada against the occasional rogue polar bear or dead bloated whale...

  • Re:Russia (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FatLittleMonkey (1341387) on Friday June 06, 2014 @03:19AM (#47177583)

    It's like the old WWII joke: "Vun German panzer can beat 5 American panzers." "Ja wohl... but ze Americans sent 6!"

  • Re:Russia (Score:4, Interesting)

    by flyingfsck (986395) on Friday June 06, 2014 @04:58AM (#47177803)
    Russia has never invaded Western Europe or North America. It is always the other way around. Russia is an ally, not an enemy. Go and read your neglected high school history books. They are Slavs and they take care of other Slavs, whether the other Slavs like it or not...
  • Re:Russia (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SomeoneFromBelgium (3420851) on Friday June 06, 2014 @08:11AM (#47178233)

    Fighter Jets became useless 20yrs ago. They're only still around because the current generals running the US military grew up whacking off to topgun.

    That's a common misunderstanding. A fighter jet is not an offensive weapon. It doesn't serve to win the war. It serves to dominate the skies so that the rest (ground troops, bombers, helicopters, battle ships...) win the war.

    So... does having a good fighter jet make you win the war? No. But not having them sure as hell makes you loosing it!

    Without the protection of the jets any tank, ground operation, battle ship can be jumped at any time by an enemy jet and turned to ash.

    Which brings us neatly to the F-35: it is meant and conceived as a stealth bomber but not as an air dominance fighter. So will it enable the US and it's allies to dominate the skies? For me that is the real question.

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