Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Lockheed's Weird Narrative
For me, the miner's canary was a PostMedia Matthew Fisher column claiming that opting for the Boeing Super Hornet instead of Lockheed's F-35 would leave the Canadian north defenceless. I let it slide. It was Matthew Fisher after all and I had him pegged years ago. Then I began hearing the same story from a friend who said he'd read it in the Washington Post.
The story goes like this. Within a few years the Russians will be deploying their new stealth fighter, the T-50, and of course there will be swarms of them and Putin will station them on Russia's Arctic frontier.
The second part of the scenario involves Russia launching a stealth sneak attack (along the lines of the American's "Operation Chimichanga" strategy) using these T-50 jets to launch a cruise missile attack against Canada and the U.S.
The third part argues that the best defence against a Russian stealth warplane is a Canadian stealth warplane. Ergo we're screwed if we're stuck with Boeing's Super Hornet. Our only hope of salvation rests on being able to deploy Lockheed's F-35s.
To begin with, this is multi-level bullshit. About a week ago I did a bit of research into Russian progress with development of its long-range cruise missile technology. The consensus seems to hold that Russia's latest air launched cruise missiles can achieve 30-foot accuracy over a range of up to 6,300 miles.
Now here's the thing. Russia's long-range cruise missiles, the type they would need to reach the really important targets in Canada and the northern U.S. are those red things shown underneath the wings of a Russian bear bomber in the picture above. They're essentially small airplanes with wings and engines and fins.
No one is going to be slinging those things under the wings of any T-50 stealth fighter. First of all they're too big to fit inside. They're probably too big to mount under the wings either. And then there's the problem that, if you did find a way to put a couple under the T-50 wings there goes your supposed stealth advantage.
That's not to say the Super Hornet could defend against a determined, Operation Chimichanga scale cruise missile attack either. We'll never have enough fighters to maintain an ironclad defence across our vast Arctic. The Russians could pick their spots, launch their cruise missiles and turn away, probably just as we would be launching our interceptors.
Is Lockheed that desperate to keep Canada in line on the F-35? Do they fear we'll lead a stampede of other international customers? Hard to know what's going on but it is getting bizarre.