Further to this post and “Comments”,
the start of two interesting posts by two different people at Milnet.ca, at two sometimes heated topic threads (many service members post at the site):
I’m going to be blunt. The problem isnt that this is an echo chamber…. that would be such a trivial thing if it was. Rather the problem is that the viewpoints expressed by several members here, are not more widely known in the public. the problem is that we have an electorate that frankly do not have the slightest understanding of this issue, and a political class that understands almost as little.
And this is the incisive part. You claim there is another side. I know for a fact that the arguments you put forward here are for the most part wrong. The vast vast vast majority of the reason why we’re here today is not because the F-35 is deficient in capability, cost, or industrial benefits. Actually, for not a single one of those categories can any of the other options claim they are better than the F-35. That was known clearly as far back as 2010, and despite every effort to prove otherwise, it remains true today. And that’s widely known within the bureaucracy, and now within the government.
Rather the reason why we’re here is because on a constant basis we have had two political parties, who despite in possession of the facts of the program, fail to possess political will, or understanding of this issue to actually get things done…
I am not going to jump into this F-35 vs the rest debate.
However, surely we can all agree on one thing: All five aircraft on offer would provide the RCAF with an upgrade on its current fighter force. We can at least take solace in the fact that no matter what aircraft is chosen, it will be an upgrade.
There are other issues which I am more interesting in hearing answers to, but they tend to get lost amongst the noise of “F-35 is awesome because…..” and “F-35 sucks because….” ad nauseum.
1. Purchase cost is a small part of the overall price tag – what about operating costs? Surely that is a far more important figure in the big picture.
2. AAR [air-to-air refueling] – What would the cost be to get new tankers to support the new fighter if the new fighter requires a different system than our current mix of Airbus/Herc? Surely that calculation must be added into the mix? They are not unrelated [see also: “New RCAF Tanker Aircraft Depends on New Fighter Type Selection (when?)“].
3. Are our northern FOLs [forward operating locations–scroll down here to “Royal Canadian Air Force”] compatible with the new fighters? What is the cost to upgrade these sites, including runway extensions if required? Again, that is not an unrelated cost – it must be factored into the decision.
4. What industrial offsets will the five companies offer? LM has been very vocal about the ‘potential’ economic benefits of buying their offering, but as far as I know they are not guaranteeing any industrial offsets – only the opportunity to bid for contracts. (and I am certain someone on here will swiftly correct me if this is incorrect) The other four would no doubt have to offer guaranteed industrial offsets to counter the greater potential value of the LM programme. It will be interesting to see what they offer, and what Canadian companies become involved…
Do jump into both threads.