The Canadian Air Force's Future

Discussion in 'Modern' started by Catch22, Feb 24, 2010.

  1. Catch22

    Catch22 Well-Known Member

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    As most of you will know, Canada's combat aircraft fleet consists of CF-18s, which are now up to F-18C/D standard. We don't deploy them outside of Canada much, but as they are aging, I'm wondering what people's thoughts (who are more knowledgeable than I) are on whether or not we should consider replacing them before the F-35 comes into being. We are a "Level 3" Partner in the project, though I'm not sure what exactly that means, and are projected to contribute between US$4.8 billion and US$6.8 billion (from Wiki). Do you think we'll end up even buying the F-35, or should we go for something cheaper like the Gripen?
     
  2. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    I don't know what you'll end up buying
    but I bet it won't be the Gripen; I can't see Canada defending her extensive borders easily with such a (comparatively) short-ranged aircraft.
     
  3. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    The level of partnership is dependant on the amont of money committed to the program. It also means that Canadain industry could bid on the program and DND could ask for an offset agreement if Canada decises to purchase F-35s.
     
  4. Catch22

    Catch22 Well-Known Member

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    Ah k, thanks for the clarification.

    Also, I wasn't aware that the Gripen was short ranged. I pretty much know nothing about these things. Another factor too is the single engine on the Gripen, and I know that was one of the main reasons we didn't buy the F-16.
     
  5. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Very true. The Hudson Bay is a pretty lonely place during an engine failure in a single engine aircraft!
     
  6. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    And the F-16 has a greater operating range; 3,900kms vs around 3,000kms for the Gripen
     
  7. Catch22

    Catch22 Well-Known Member

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    Hmm, I guess that wouldn't be suitable at all. I have the distinct feeling our F-18s will be soldiering on for quite some time.
     
  8. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    The F18's are in pretty good shape the maintainers are top notch compared to other NATO countries the F18's have been used a fiar amount outside Canada in combat roles Serbia and Iraq in 91 .The Gripen is not the aircraft for Canada it has no range IMHO . You must remember the 18's deploy IIRC on a regular basis to the far north to places like Frobisher to stand alert and I don't think the Gripen would be suited for that type of work. I'm curious as to how many times the Gripens did air to ir refuelling when they deployed to Alaska a few years ago
     
  9. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    If Grippen is ill suited for huge chunks of land sea, I don't see F-35 any better for same enviroement.
    Now, if the Canadian government might persuade LM to divert the money they invested to F-35 towards the F-22 'piggy-bank' ...
     
  10. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    The Grippen has an unrefueled combat radius of 500 miles. The F-35, over 600.

    The F-22 would probably suit Canada better in an intercept role.
     
  11. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    That's where I was aiming :)
     
  12. Waynos

    Waynos Active Member

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    The F-15SE might be a better option, I would certainly prefer it over the Super Bug, which is the other likely twin engine alternative. Shame the Typhoon is a bit pricey compared to these.
     
  13. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    I think the Gripen NG would be an excellent choice, just some info:

    On a CAP 385km from base, a Gripen can stay on station for two hours carrying 2X AMRAAM, 2X AIM-9 and 2X droptanks.

    When carrying 3X 1000lbs GBU-16 on a LO-LO-LO strike profile, the Gripen has a mission radius of 648km. With 2X GBU-16's and extra fuel tanks radius increases to 833km.

    Ferry range is 3500km according to Col Jan Jonsson of the Swedish Air Warfare Center.

    The Gripen can operate from 800m long and 9m wide roadstrips. Take off and landing distances can be down to 400-350 meters.

    Jas 39 Gripen NG
     
  14. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    That's all great if you want to defend Ontario only.
     
  15. Catch22

    Catch22 Well-Known Member

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    The F-15SE's still $100 million, compared to the $54 million of the Super Hornet and the max $61 million of the Gripen. The Eurofighter's only $84 million, around $89 CDN. Still too expensive most likely, but still cheaper. The more I look at it, the Gripen's probably too short range and limited for Canadian use.
     
  16. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    To go with Gripens, Canada is going to need more tanksers
     
  17. Catch22

    Catch22 Well-Known Member

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    One thing too about the Gripens is I don't know how reliable they are. As Neil pointed out, our F-18s are very reliable, and seem to be able to withstand the cold conditions of the arctic.
     
  18. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The F-15 is much better then most of the possible candidates (minus F-22) for Canada, since it has notable range payload margin over them. Further more, single engine proposals lack the redundancy, and generous size of the plane benefits radar performance size/number of other electronic equipment.
    Last, but not least, to extract same range loiter time from a Grippen or F-35, Canada would need a number of flying tankers (as pointed out by FLYBOYJ), so the final cost would be comparable with purchase of F-15/F-22 without tankers.
     
  19. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    I'm not sure that's the point that puts the Gripen out of favour
    It's a new bird so time will tell but Sweden can get pretty chilly too, don't forget they have Barents Sea defence commitments and they are by no means sunny climes.
     
  20. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    Joe
    what does 'operating range' (3,000kms) mean? Is that the range with the Gripen tanking as much fuel as it can carry + an in-flight? The two figures (operating range and unrefueled combat radius) seem enormously disparate.
     
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