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July 17, 2010

Canada to buy $9 BILLION in fighter planes

CANADA - The Conservative minority government of Canada has committed itself to buying 65 new fighter planes at a cost of $140 million each, the biggest post-Cold-War expenditure in Canadian military history.

Who exactly is the threat you ask? Iran? North Korea? Maybe. The huge $9 billion plus price tag raises some important questions about where Canada would be using such fighter planes.

Not on our own soil obviously. We're surrounded by water on three sides and our allies the Americans to the south. So... the answer then is that these fighter planes will be used not in Canada, but overseas in some future conflict.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay touted the new fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning IIs, outfitted with stealth technology, secure communication channels and presumably the best pilots Canada can muster.

These are not interceptor planes for shooting down enemy bombers or missiles. We have other planes and anti-ballistic missiles as part of NORAD for taking care of such threats.

No, the new F-35s are designed to bomb targets and to do so discreetly. Fly in unnoticed, bomb a target and then leave before anyone notices. While they can also be used for air support and defense, their primary purpose is tactical bombing of targets.

Maintenance for the $9 billion worth of fighter planes will cost an extra $7 billion. F-35s are expensive pieces of equipment and very pricey to maintain.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning IIs were developed by the United States, Canada and 7 other allied nations and are the first 5th-generation fighter planes American allies are "allowed to buy"...

You may find it ironic that Canada and allies helped pay for the development costs for designing these planes, but then we have to pay to have them built in the USA and shipped to Canada. Why can't we build them HERE? Heck, apparently we even have to ask America's permission to buy a plane which we helped design.

Actually that is not true. We're allowed to BID on subcontracts to build parts for Lockheed Martin, but only if we agree to buy a whole bunch of planes. That does not guarantee our bids are accepted.

Meanwhile the Conservative government wants to begin a 5-year-period of budget cutting, but its evident the military isn't one of those things to be cut. Expect more budget cuts to health care, education, women's shelters, arts and other public services.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay says the fighters are to “defend the sovereignty” of Canadian airspace. Apparently he's forgotten about all the other fighter planes we already possess.

Canada currently has 9 types of military aircraft in active service:
AgustaWestland CH-149 Cormorant (an air-sea rescue helicopter)

BAE Hawk (a fighter jet used for training exercises, but capable of combat)

Canadair CT-114 Tutor (a jet used for primarily for training)

McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet (a multirole fighter plane Canada has been using since 1982)

De Havilland Canada DHC-5 Buffalo (a short takeoff transport plane)

Lockheed CP-140 Aurora (maritime patrol aircraft)

SAGEM Sperwer (unmanned spy plane)

Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone (maritime helicopter, complete with ant-sub technology)

Beechcraft T-6 Texan II (a turboprop plane used for training)
This may be a case of Sammy down the street has a new toy and Peter wants one too. The Americans have them, so we need them too. Because apparently our 138 CF-18 Hornets aren't kewl enough any more.

As if our 65 new F-35s can really compare with the 2,000+ F-35s the United States is preparing to build.

If you're struggling to imagine what country has 2,000+ targets that need to be bombed in tactical missions you're not alone. It really feels like overkill.

"The neighbour's grass is always greener when his gun is bigger than yours."

3 comments:

  1. It is my belief that the government of Canada is very incapable of making ANY military arms or armament equipment decisions.
    If one looks back to Canada's military past in 1957, all becomes clear, our so called military leaders bumbled through the CF 105 Avro Arrow and then the Bomarc missle system to replace the CF 105arrow. What a shame.
    At present we can NO LONGER build our own Fighter Aircraft in Canada as we would be competing with the U.S.A. in a signed treaty by our country's leaders, We gave up those rights.
    Canada's future rights to build fighter jets is now gone along with the CF 105 Arrow and our aviation leadership.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lamenting about the Avro Arrow program is totally moot in 2010. It wasn't our military leaders, it was one leader, our Prime Minister who was weak minded and easily influenced by the American President of the time. That's all in the distant past and we have to deal with what we have. To start our own program now, over 50 years later would cost hundreds of billions. Going in together with other nations is the most cost effective way.

    Now for the original blogger, 65 planes is not overkill. We have the second largest country on Earth, yet we spend the least out of ALL G8 nations on defense. People don't realize how close we came to war during the 80's. Canadian fighters were scrambled many times against Russians buzzing our air space in the Arctic. We didn't go to war because we had the ability to defend our Air Space. The odd thing that people also have no idea about is that in just the last few years, there's been a LOT of Russians buzzing our Air Space in the Arctic. There's almost no press on it, but there's been an alarming amount of activity.

    The US is buying over 2400 F-35s. We are buying 65. We need the ability to live up to our defense agreements with our allies. We put in the least out of all our allies, mostly because of whiners and we take advantage of the US. The CF-18s being retired will be over 40 years old by the time the F-35 is put into service. According to Boeing, we have gotten the most years out of our F-18's out of ANY country in the world. It's embarassing that we're only getting 65 new jets! More importantly however, we need to keep our history of aviation alive. Historically, we have had some of the best pilots. There's a rich history and a lot of knowledge and experience passed on since WWI. Do you know that currently we have some of the best pilots in the world despite our tiny program? Canadians consistently have won Top Gun in the US numerous times. But these guys and future generations need the tools to keep our skills alive. Do you honestly think the world is going to look exactly the same in 15 years than it does now? How naive.

    There's a lot of things that go on behind the scenes that the public has no idea. The US isn't stupid. They know we need them and that in a lot of ways we're subject to them. The only other comparable fighter is the Euro Fighter, but the money wouldn't go to the US. Who knows what kind of read-between-the-lines messages we got from the US. Either way, if the crap hits the fan, we need them far more than they need us...not only militarily, but ecomically as well. Being a leader isn't as simple as it looks and they have info we don't. History will tell as it all comes out in the end.

    If you bothered to read the specs on the actual figher, not just the granola-liberal point of view you'd realize what we're buying. The F-35 is actually a little slower, lighter and has a shorter range than the CF-18. It's actually better suited. It actually isn't "overkill" as you've stated. It will be the first stealth-jet Canada will have. It's about having superior technology, not the highest quantity of blunt instruments. It's safer for our service men and women and it's current technology we need to master. We have to keep up or get left behind and we're doing it the cheapest way possible and people are still complaining!

    ReplyDelete
  3. The overkill comment was with respect to the 2,000+ planes the USA is building. You confused the two. Even in the event of a war its difficult to imagine why the USA would need 2,000 new stealth fighters unless they're planning a major attack.

    ReplyDelete

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