Giving the Royal Canadian Air Force What it Needs:
If you’ve spent a bit of time researching or reading about Canada’s Fighter Jet Procurement Program you will likely have come across arguments for and against the Joint Strike Force F-35 Lightning II. One of the issues that we would like you to consider along with capability is the necessity of the fighter jets – What will be the main uses for Canada’s new fighter jets, when we get them? Will they be deployed in Arctic patrols or over the sands of some country in the Middle East? Are they intended to defend ourselves against powerful Nations such as Russia, USA or China? Or are they for peacekeeping missions in countries that barely have a government, never-mind an organized military? These are questions that we believe are of extreme importance as it appears we are buying an expensive product that has many functions we will never need, or if we do, having 65 of them won’t make a difference.
The low Canadian population combined with its incredibly large land mass makes Canada a unique country in the world. In terms of defense of borders and sovereignty, the low population density in Canada’s North makes it extremely difficult to patrol and monitor and with seasonal weather extremes, sending manned aircraft into our Northern Territories can be extremely risky – for both the equipment and the pilot. This is one of the reasons that in previous years, the military has pushed for dual engine aircraft; so in case of engine failure, the plane would still have the capability to return to base. Arguments for the single engine aircraft have rebutted those fears with impressive statistics of engine reliability, and they could be right. Of all of the NATO allies only Norway and Iceland share Canada’s designation of an Arctic Nation (Denmark as well if you consider Greenland). This geographical placement on the North side of the globe results in unique equipment requirements to account for cold and extreme weather. In many ways (and if it was even possible), we would be better off purchasing fighter jets from the Russians. Their jets are technologically advanced, built for the cold and would cost less than the vaunted F-35. With that in mind, perhaps a one size fits all approach is not the best match for Canada. While the fact remains that Canada will need an advanced fighter jet for military adventures around the world, we should examine the capabilities of the fighters based upon their need for deployment in the country they were bought to defend; Canada.
In Canada’s recent military interventions in Libya, Afganistan and Iraq, the resistance to Allied airstrikes was practically nonexistent for fixed wing aircraft. This begs the question on why Canada needs the top fighter jet in the world. Compared to America, China or Russia, Canada’s 64 CF-18 fighter jets represent an insignificant strike force and their value should be questioned. For Canada’s purposes in peace and war a fighter jet should be considered for its ability to fulfill the technical requirements, some of which might include:
- Two engine fighter, or high reliability single engine
- Capable of flying in arctic conditions – extreme weather and cold
- Capable of carrying modern air to surface and air to air missiles
- Sufficient range, fuel storage etc.
- State of the art communications equipment
- Easy/cheap to work on and maintain
- Stealth Capability – is it required
In addition to considering the technical specifications, we should be asking: Would an older jet work as well as a new one to perform a visual inspection of a ship in the Arctic? Is it possible to upgrade the targeting software and missile systems? Would any new fighter program benefit from advances in technology? We believe the answer to all of these questions is yes, and furthermore that the benefits of having the best technology in the world should be weighed against the fact that we will likely never use it. It seems apparent that in some cases Canada is purchasing Lamborghinis when a Lada would do.
If you would like to show your support for a measured approach to military expenditures, show your support and sign the petetion ____________________now.
List of Aviation Shootdowns (USA) of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_aviation_shootdowns_and_accidents_during_the_Iraq_War#Fixed-wing_aircraft