Tag Archives: F-35

Mark Collins – Now Likely? Canada to Sole-Source Some Super Hornets for RCAF After All?

Further to this post, keep your eyes open during my blogging break for a week beginning tomorrow, November 22–whole lot of anonymice being sources:

Cabinet could decide fighter jet plan as early as Tuesday [Nov. 22], industry sources say

Industry sources expect the Liberal government to decide as early as Tuesday whether to purchase a new fighter jet without a competition.

Federal cabinet ministers are reportedly considering three options for replacing Canada’s CF-18s, one of which they are expected to pick during their weekly closed-door meeting on Parliament Hill.

The options include holding a competition, buying a new warplane without a competition, or purchasing an “interim” aircraft as a stop-gap measure until a future competition.

The government was eyeing the third option in the spring, with the intention of buying Boeing Super Hornets, until an outcry from industry and the opposition forced them back to the drawing board.

But while Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan held consultations with different industry players in the summer, industry sources say the interim option is back as the preferred choice [i.e. a limited number of Super Hornets–perhaps some of the Growler persuasion (good expeditionarily)?].

Sajjan’s office refused to comment on Monday, with a spokeswoman saying only that a decision still has not been made…

Sajjan would only say that the government had done “a considerable amount of work” on the file.

“We will make a decision on replacing the fighters and will pick a process that will meet the needs of Canada.”..

Perish the thought that the Liberal Party’s political needs might be another consideration.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Canada to Sole-Source Some Super Hornets for RCAF After All?

Further to these posts,

Cabinet Committee to Take Sting out of Sole-Sourcing RCAF Super Hornets? CF-18 Life Extension? [June]

New RCAF Fighter: Consult, Consult, Consult (with industry)–Why Not Just Compete? [July]

here we go again, perhaps–things are getting embarrassingly ridiculous as the government twists desperately to distance itself from the F-35, at least for now:

Liberals again considering sole source purchase of Super Hornet fighter jets to replace CF-18s

A Liberal government proposal to buy Super Hornet fighter jets as a replacement for the air force’s aging CF-18s is back on the table.

But whether it will move ahead is still unclear.

In June [see link at start of post] the government proposed the purchase of Boeing Super Hornets as an interim measure, but that option disappeared as it faced intense criticism from the aerospace industry and opposition MPs.

Aerospace industry officials say they believed the Liberals were moving towards an open competition for a fighter replacement. But the option to buy the Super Hornets on a sole source basis and forgo a competition until around 2030 has again resurfaced [that would be impossibly late with CF-18s supposed to go out of service around 2025], industry sources now say.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office, with advice from Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, has been pushing the option, despite opposition from some leaders in the Royal Canadian Air Force, sources add.

Jordan Owens, a spokeswoman for Sajjan, said Thursday [Nov. 17] that no decision has been taken yet on replacing the CF-18s…

The acquisition of an interim fleet of 20 Super Hornets would push off the need to acquire a new fleet of fighter jets for more than a decade [actually just a decade or less if that 2025 date for retiring CF-18s holds–and a decision on the further new fighter would have to be made well before that to get the jets into service in time]…

Oh dear. Relevant:

New RCAF Fighter: Debate on F-35 vs Rest, esp. Super Hornet

RCAF and F-35: New Fighter Requirements, NORAD and Overseas

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – RCAF and F-35: New Fighter Requirements, NORAD and Overseas

A Canadian Global Affairs Institute tweet of a pro-F-35 piece:

But see from 2014:

F-35 and Canada: Good for “Discretionary” Missions, But…

…its “capabilities…are not a good fit for Canada’s non-discretionary missions.” So writes (near end of link) a recently retired RCAF major-general…

Recent and very relevant, note further links:

F-35 JPO PEO Goes to Ottawa

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – F-35 JPO PEO Goes to Ottawa

Lt. Gen. Bogdan pays us a visit:

U.S. pitches F-35 jet to Ottawa as Liberals aim to replace fleet

The U.S. Air Force made a last-minute pitch [the general actually represents the whole Pentagon] to the federal government in favour of the Lockheed-Martin F-35, hoping to reassure officials about the long-term viability of the stealth fighter jet that the Liberals promised not to buy in the past election, sources said.

A top American officer who leads the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office, based in Virginia, travelled to Ottawa on Oct. 14 to meet with Canadian officials who are working on the purchase of Canada’s next fleet of fighter jets. Lieutenant-General Christopher Bogdan discussed the ongoing development of the state-of-the-art fighter jet, which has clients around the world but is still facing a series of technological problems, officials said.

The visit from Lt.-Gen. Bogdan came at a crucial time, as a small team of Liberal ministers are set to choose one of three options to replace Canada’s fleet of CF-18s: launch a full and open competition [see “New RCAF Fighter: Consult, Consult, Consult (with industry)–Why Not Just Compete?”]; buy a small number of fighter jets for an interim fleet [see “Cabinet Committee to Take Sting out of Sole-Sourcing RCAF Super Hornets? CF-18 Life Extension?“]; or purchase an entire fleet of jets through a sole-sourced acquisition [don’t think I’ve seen this possibility made explicit before].

Defence-industry officials expect the cabinet committee on defence procurement to meet on this matter next week. Federal officials declined to comment on the timing of the coming meeting, but said the government does not plan to let the complex file drag on.

There are widespread concerns in the Liberal government about the short-term risks associated with the acquisition of the F-35, which is still in development.

In September, 15 F-35s were grounded over the discovery of faulty insulation in avionics cooling lines in the aircraft’s wings, an issue that should be be fixed by the end of the year [see “Grounded F-35As Expected to Fly Again Soon“].

On a broader level, some Canadian officials were preoccupied by a recent report that raised a number of questions about the ability of the F-35 to achieve its promised capabilities.

Leaked to Bloomberg News over the summer, the report [in fact an  internal Pentagon memo] from the U.S. government’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation warned that the F-35 program was “not on a path toward success but instead on a path toward failing to deliver” full capabilities by the scheduled end of its development in 2018 [more here, here and here (Norwegian pilot)].

Lt.-Gen. Bogdan was in Ottawa earlier this month specifically to discuss the Canadian government’s plans to buy new fighter jets.

“The general provided an update on the status of the program and answered questions to help ensure officials had as complete information as possible on the F-35 program, as the Government of Canada considers all of its options to replace their legacy CF-18 fighter fleet,” said Joe DellaVedova, a spokesman for Lt.-Gen. Bogdan.

Mr. DellaVedova would not give details of what was discussed at the meeting, but provided a statement by Lt.-Gen. Bogdan to dissipate concerns over the report from the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation…

Relevant:

New Canadian Fighter: F-35 vs Super Hornet–Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! Hit the Fan

New RCAF Fighter: Debate on F-35 vs Rest, esp. Super Hornet

RCAF CF-18 Life Extension: Will Canadian Government Actually Act?

Avions F-35: une manne de 1 milliard au Canada

Sic Itur Ad...?

RCAF-badge-UB499b-tn.jpg

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – RCAF CF-18 Life Extension: Will Canadian Government Actually Act?

Further to this 2014 story,

Canada [Conservative government] to funnel money into upgrades to keep CF-18 fighter jets flying 

and to this April post,

RCAF: Decisions Needed on Extending CF-18 Hornets’ Service to 2025

will a blinking decision finally be made?

Canadian military to ask Ottawa to approve up to $500 million in spending for CF-18 upgrades

The Canadian military is hoping to ask the government early next year for approval to spend up to $500 million to modernize its CF-18 fighter jets.

The upgrade would keep the planes flying until 2025, giving the government some breathing room to organize the purchase of replacements and make sure they are delivered before the older jets are taken out of service.
Work has already started to ensure the CF-18s are structurally sound.

Now, the military is analyzing improvement options for communications equipment to deal with changes in civil aviation regulations. There could be other upgrades to weapons and how the CF-18s communicate and operate with Allied fighter jets.

“This project is expected to go for potential government submission early in 2017,” said Ashley Lemire, Department of National Defence spokeswoman.

The options focus “on what is required from a regulatory and interoperability perspective.”

The DND estimates the cost of the modernization at between $250 million and $499 million, depending on the options chosen and what the government accepts, say defence sources.

Military officers say the upgrades will have to be done by 2021 to make financial sense — new fighter jets are expected by 2025. That means decisions on the upgrades must be made and contracts placed by 2018.

Since 2002, Canada has spent $2.6 billion modernizing the CF-18s [more here]. The planes were bought in 1982…

Industry sources say they believe some senior Liberals still hope to revive the Super Hornet sole-source purchase in the near future [see “Cabinet Committee to Take Sting out of Sole-Sourcing RCAF Super Hornets? CF-18 Life Extension?“–that “capability gap” is mentioned at the latter part of the post].

Sajjan has said the Canadian military is facing a “capability gap” since the CF-18 fleet can’t handle the country’s commitments to NATO and the North American Aerospace Defence Command’s needs to protect the continent.

“Between our NORAD and NATO commitments and how many jets are serviceable at one time, we cannot meet both those requirements simultaneously,” he said in July…

As for actually acquiring a new plane…

New RCAF Fighter: Consult, Consult, Consult (with industry)–Why Not Just Compete?

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – "The Fourth Dimension: The F-35 Program, [Canadian] Defence Procurement, and the Conservative Government, 2006–2015"

Have a look at Vimy Paper 33 by Richard Shimooka (a long-time supporter of the Joint Strike Fighter), at the Conference of Defence Associations Institute; lots of–unattributed–inside stuff, especially interesting is the botched 2014 effort to acquire four USAF F-35As for the RCAF (p. 34 PDF, more here on that from a government that made a policy of being economical with the truth).

More F-35 posts.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Yes, Virginia, There is a Canadian "Cabinet Committee on Defence Procurement"

Further to this excerpt from an earlier post,


Sources said the file is currently in front of the cabinet “ad hoc” committee on defence procurement, which is chaired by Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr…

The other members of the committee are Treasury Board President Scott Brison, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, Procurement Minister Judy Foote, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, Science Minister Kirsty Duncan and Mr. Garneau…

[That committee is also in charge of the government’s–inherited–shipbuilding morass (more here, here and here); they sure do have a huge and messy plate.]..

we have a (modified) tweet today:

The membership is at p. 11 PDF here–foreign affairs minister Dion has been added, presumably to provide a second Quebec member (transport minister Garneau is the other) as he has no other discernible qualifications for inclusion. Good luck to them on the pressing matter of how to go forward in choosing the RCAF’s new fighter.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds