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F-35 sell job not doing so well in Quebec. Will ROC follow?

As pointed out over at Impolitical’s place, the Conservatives and their friends in the private aerospace industry sector have been trying very hard to try and convince Quebeckers that the potential purchase of these Stealth F-35 fighter jets (on a sole source contract) is very good for Quebec. Those efforts have so far met with a sceptical Quebec public; in polling, Quebeckers reject the F-35 as necessary by a ratio of more then 3 -1.

It will be interesting to see if the ROC follows Quebec’s lead (ROC stands for “Rest Of Canada”, in case you were wondering). There should be no reason why not; buying a fighter jet on a sole-sourced contract (one with no competitive bids allowed), should raise plenty of eyebrows, particularly when the Canadian military itself was advocating multiple competitive bids.

When you’ve just announced a 55 billion $ deficit, I believe all Canadians will be asking why you wouldn’t allow a competitive bid process so you could shave a couple billion $ off of any purchase of jets you might get. Perhaps the F-35 was indeed the best plane to buy for Canada, but surely it makes sense to make the purchaser of that aircraft work for the contract, rather then sole-source it and allow them to name a price that gives them maximum profits.


4 comments to F-35 sell job not doing so well in Quebec. Will ROC follow?

  • Redrum

    Wow, so that Air Power Australia think tank finally got around to addressing our impending purchase in particular, and the results are not pretty. This F35 is a real turkey: it’s designed more for bombing AFTER the air support has been taken out by the much more agile & stealthy F22’s (which are actually cheaper than the F35s, now, but which the Americans, um, refuse to sell to us)

    “If we take a hard analytical perspective on what Canada’s long term strategic needs in fighter aircraft are, as distinct from DND bureaucratic “wants” in this area, several considerations become prominent:

    1. National air defence will require a large twin engined fighter with superlative supersonic performance, superlative radar performance, and a large missile payload to defeat strategic bombers and their cruise missile payloads;
    2. The proliferation of advanced long range fighters such as the Su-35S and PAK-FA will put a premium on combat agility for both beyond visual range (BVR) and within visual range (WVR) engagements, supersonic agility, and stealth performance;
    3. Expeditionary campaigns into “contested” airspace will require the ability to survive against advanced SAM systems such as the S-400, S-300PMU2, HQ-9 and planned S-500, putting a premium on high stealth performance;
    4. Expeditionary campaigns in COIN environments will require the ability to operate from shorter airfields, with high endurance and large, varied weapon payloads.

    The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, by both definition and design, is fundamentally unsuited to any one and every one of these basic needs.

    1. The F-35 lacks the range, missile payload, radar performance and especially supersonic performance to be effective in the strategic air defence role, and with a single engine puts the lives of Canadian pilots at unnecessary risk in harsh Arctic conditions.
    2. The F-35 lacks the supersonic performance, missile payload, radar performance, agility and stealth performance to be effective in combat against the Su-35S Flanker E+, and has no ability to compete with the Sukhoi PAK-FA. This makes the F-35 ineffective in strategic air defence, if fighter escorts are deployed, and ineffective in expeditionary campaigns where the opponent operates such fighters.
    3. The F-35 lacks the stealth performance to penetrate modern air defence systems armed with weapons such as the S-400, S-300PMU2, HQ-9 and planned S-500, especially if these SAMs are supported by modern “counter-stealth” radars operating in the lower radar bands.
    4. In uncontested COIN operations, the F-35 lacks the payload and endurance to perform well, does not have the ballistic survivability for Close Air Support (CAS), and the CTOL variant demands long runways for operations, limiting choices in deployment sites.

    Against each and every one of these clearly identifiable strategic needs for Canada’s future fighter force, the F-35 JSF is an abject failure.”

    — but the F-22A Raptor WOULD fit that bill.

    www +

  • Redrum

    Some good sources on the folly of this purchase are an independent think tank on military aircraft in Australia, which documents, among other things, that the F-35 really shouldn’t even be considered a 5th Generation Fighter, after all, despite the hype:

    www +

    and this Order of Canada winning Cndn academic, a founder of Project Ploughshare, who’s been following this for decades and agrees with Alan Williams, the former Assistant Deputy Minister of Defense procurement, that it’s total BS what the Cons. are saying that there was a competition as far as Canada was concerned & that the Liberals already committed us to it:

    http + ://

  • TofKW

    Oh, by the way I’d like to remind everyone that the US lost a stealth F-117 during the Yugoslav civil wars, in the skies over Kosovo to be exact. The Serbs managed to re-work their old Soviet designed SA-3 missiles to see temporary ‘blips’ and then anticipated the course of the stealth jets. They definitely downed one, and supposedly crippled two others which were able to return to base (that was denied by the US).

    My point?

    Now the F-117 is old stealth technology and the US is retiring them already (I would say the above experience hastened their retirement). However the Serbs were able to figure out how, if only temporarily, to ‘see’ them. Anyone guess how long it will be before the Chinese or the Russians can spot an F-35 on radar? Heck, I’ll wager that computer hackers in India have figured out a way.

    Now does everyone see why I think stealth aircraft are a waste of money? The people we want to hide them from probably already know how to track them (or can figure it out quick if they deem it a threat), and the countries who can’t wouldn’t be able to track a SuperHornet either.

  • TofKW

    Well I’ve been going on elsewhere about the F/A-18E/F SuperHornet as being the better choice (it is a generation 4.5 fighter but cheaper as it has no ‘stealth’ technology, though Boeing is working on giving it some) but I admit I’m not a military expert. However I don’t see why a single-engine jet would be preferred, or why the hell we need stealth technology (are we planning on helping the US bomb any sovereign nations with decent air defense systems?)

    That aside, that sole-source contract should raise everyone’s eyebrows. We are about to hand over $16 billion to Lockheed Martin without any real guarantees of jobs within the Canadian aerospace industry …all on Harper’s ‘trust us, this is the best deal’ assurance.

    Ya, these are the same guys that employ Jim Flaherty as a finance minister (regardless of his record in Ontario) and said “trust us, no deficit unless the Liberals are in power” back in 2008.

    Quebec is leading the way in recognizing BS when they see it.

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