Thursday, 14 December 2017

Royal Canadian Air Force Will Have to Make Do With Government Surplus Jets

There are days I find it impossible to understand how any Canadian signs up to wear a uniform in defense of this country, simply because the most dangerous enemy they will face are our own politicians. This particular government has a history of kicking the men and women of Canada’s Armed Forces in the teeth over the past few decades. Sunny ways? Royal Canadian Air Force pilot’s better hope there are no bad guys coming at them out of that ‘sun’, because what they’ll be flying is way past its ‘best before’ date. The recent announcement that the government is going to buy old, used, rusty (yes rusty!) F-18 Hornets from Australia should be enough to send any Canadian fighter pilot checking his retirement options.

This item below is right from the Public Services and Procurement Canada website:

“How can you be confident these planes will be reliable, safe and effective?

  • Ensuring the safety and security of our women and men in uniform is our top priority
  • The Australian aircraft are similar in age to Canada’s CF-18 fleet”

I know what you’re thinking. If our aircraft are so old and worn out, on what planet does it make sense to replace them with – the EXACT same thing! This isn’t like the old CF-101 Voodoos that were traded in for airframes with much less time on them and upgraded to modern standards. Nope. This is Australian government surplus. You know; the kind of stuff that junk yards bid on for scrap, or you pick up cheap at the local Army/Navy store.

Keep in mind. The ‘Classic’ F-18s (the originals as opposed to the upgraded Super Hornets) are not the current Royal Australian Air Force fighters. No, like we had done, the Aussies opted to purchase the F-35, BUT, knowing the F-18s they currently had were not really suitable for current operations, they bought a bunch of F-18 SUPER Hornets to hold them over until the new Lightning IIs arrived. Yes, that right. We’re not buying the aircraft the Australians will be phasing out soon. No, we’re buying their old, already replaced by a plane that is about to be replaced by another plane, planes. Make sense? I sure hope not!

Don’t get me wrong. The McDonnell Douglas CF-18 (or 188 for the purists out there) Hornet was a great fighter when originally purchased. I remember at the time, being impressed that Canada’s air force would have a front line fighter capable of taking on anything else in the sky. Now, that was 1980. After thirty-plus years of operations, fighter aircraft are supposed to be put out to pasture, or used as targets, or sent to Arizona to bask in the sun.

The previous government, after weighing all the options available and speaking with the people who would be sent in harm’s way, came up with a plan to purchase the only available fifth generation aircraft they could - the Lockheed-Martin F-35 Lightning II. It is arguably the most advanced fighter aircraft available to Canada, made clear by the fact that many NATO countries who do not have their own aircraft industry opted to go with the nimble little stealth fighter – including of course, Australia.

When the current government was elected, they SWORE that there was no way the F-35 would be chosen for the RCAF replacement fighter. Of course, that party has a history of this kind of playing around with the lives on the men and women defending Canada. The last time they were elected, they immediately cancelled purchase plans for a new anti-submarine warfare helicopter, paying massive cancellation fines (IE Tax dollars), just because that’s how their ego rolls.

What is wrong with these people? They may have to send young men and women into battle where the quality of the equipment they have will mean the difference between LIFE AND DEATH! That’s death! D – e – a – t – h! How do you tell a grieving family member that their son or daughter, or mom or dad, are dead because of nothing but pure government ego? The F-35 deal had already been made and there is a ton of economic stimulus attached to the purchase, so what more does this government want? They claim to want an open and fair bidding process. Sure! That’s great! IF you’re buying note pads, pens, or replacement light bulbs. But when it comes to a military procurement; I’m sorry, the cheapest is just not going to cut it. If that were the case, they’d bite their tongues and buy a pile of Super Hornets. Cheap and fairly reliable, if you don’t mind buying old technology. The F-35 is the ONLY fifth generation (fully modern) aircraft available to us. The rest are either from Russia or China, or still on the drawing boards.

Many of our allies will be flying the F-35, and unlike previous aircraft, it’s not just a plane they’re buying, it’s a combat system. Every media source – left AND right – are questioning the sanity of this government’s decision. That should be an indication to the party’s supporters that ‘Ottawa, we have a problem’. How Minister of National Defense Harjit Sajjan can make this announcement, as someone who has been in combat himself, and STILL remain in the party is beyond me.

As a writer, I appreciate that the fragile freedoms I enjoy as a Canadian can disappear in the blink of an eye, and I want those men and women protecting me and my freedoms to have the very best equipment we can afford, not something from the equivalent of Honest Ed’s Used Car Lot.

By Daniel L Little -

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