It reminds me of a long departed uncle who was fond of saying, "Don't eat that, Charlie. That's horseshit."
You see you can't consider the F-35's merits in isolation because it can't operate independently, certainly not in stealth mode, in a real war scenario.
The F-35 can't use its own radar to see what's around it in enemy territory. The radar emissions would give it away. So it depends on another much bigger aircraft, AWACS, a 70s vintage Boeing 707, to keep an eye on the battlefield and feed it information.
The F-35 also can't go very far in stealth mode relying on its limited internal fuel capacity. It can't haul drop tanks for extra range because they would show up on radar and defeat the stealth advantage. That leaves the F-35 totally dependent on aerial tanker aircraft and they have to be deployed well forward to give it juice on the way out.
So the Russians have done the math and they're very good at this sort of thing. They know that one (and it's only one) way to skin the F-35 cat is to go for the low hanging fruit - the tankers and AWACS control aircraft. They're bit and slow and ungainly and that makes them really easy meat. And those pesky Russians have built long-range missiles specifically for that job. Even if you can only take out the tankers, the F-35 is reduced to a one-mission air war. You don't have to shoot it down, it'll crash all on its own when it runs out of fuel. That makes the F-35 a mega-costly cruise missile. Hmm, why didn't I think of that?
And then there's this:
That's an obviously Russian depiction of what the new SU-35S stealth killer will be packing inside its wing leading edges. It's an L-band radar, real old school stuff. The F-35 is designed to defeat a more modern radar, the X-band system used in most fighter aircraft. But what you can't see on X-band you can see on L-band radar and it's apparently effective enough to neutralize the F-35s stealth technology in operational settings. And there goes a hundred million dollars an airplane worth of technology straight out the window.
Who could have imagined that someone would find a way to neutralize a potential adversary's technological breakthrough? Oh I know, every human since man first figured out how to tie a rock to a stick. Hmm, I should've thought of that too.
Now the Ruskies have developed all this new technology to equip their new SU-35S, stealth killer.
|SU-35S Stealth Killer|
At first glance it looks a lot like the old SU-27 that the Russians have been flying since 1984 but while it shares the same proven shape the SU-35S is a new airplane. AirPowerAustralia says the 35S will easily defeat any rival flying today except the F-22 Raptor and the Americans shut down the production line for that long ago.
But who is this AirPowerAustralia anyway? Well here's how America's top aviation publication, Aviation Week, describes APA:
"One reason that JSF (F-35) fans react to Carlo Kopp and his merry band at Air Power Australia the way liberals react to Sarah Palin is that their open-source work on Russian systems is second to none."
Yeah, and APA is also top notch when it comes to producing a hard-nosed examination of the F-35 light bomber, something you won't be getting from DND or the Harper government.
So if the SU-35S is so formidable and the F-35 light bomber is so vulnerable why do our political and military leaders seem so intent on us having it? There's a simple answer to that. The F-35 is our admission ticket to America's aerial Foreign Legion. It's how we stay in the Pentagon's club.
You see, remember the explanation about how the F-35 depends on protection from the F-22 Raptor and guidance from AWACS command aircraft and lots and lots of tanker aircraft? Well, we don't have those airplanes. Sure we've got a few tankers but not what's needed for combat missions and we have zero, nada, zip of those F-22s and AWACS. So if Canadian F-35s ever do get to work their stealth magic in combat it will be under the command of the Americans.
21st century America is hyper-militarized, a true warfare state. In the United States today, military force has displaced diplomacy as the principle instrument of foreign policy. When you buy the F-35, you're signing on to that same militarism. That may sound peachy to the big boys at DND or within the Harper cabinet but it's a hell of a thing to do to Canada.
If the past ten years have taught us anything about the American military and political leadership (and our own) it's their breathtaking levels of incompetence, their astonishing willingness to get into wars they're not prepared to fight and their fierce dependence on weapons that cannot deliver victories. If there's a weapon that ties us into that, and that weapon is the F-35, we should be running for the hills.
Canada doesn't need a light bomber. We do need a multi-role fighter that can do everything well even if it doesn't have the illusion of stealth. We need something that's reliable (twin engine), fast, long range, agile and capable of bringing a wide array and quantity of ordinance along for the ride which is everything the F-35 isn't.
That the F-35 is obviously such a bad choice, technically, for the RCAF leads one to the conclusion that the choice was strictly political:
• Corporations want to suck $25 billion [or $30 billion or more] from Canadian taxpayers over 20 years to buy some killing machines.
• One corporation's former director is chief of staff to the prime minister [Nigel Wright].
• One of the corporations financed the campaign of the leader of the Opposition [Onex].
• Two of the country's biggest newspapers don't want to give this story on play on the front page or in their editorials.
• The magnitude of the lie to Canadian taxpayers is the equivalent to the annual revenue of B.C.'s largest company.
Read the complete story here:
All that means is we'll have to buy interceptors at a cost of another 25 billion in a few years. Do we still have those Bomarc missiles armed with sandbags? They could be our second line of defense.
Wow. I'm quite pleased - and this is sincere, to see a liberal blogger actually go into the details about why the F-35 should be given a pass.
Given that you've shown some depth on this issue, what's a good solution? Canada NEEDS to replace the CF-18's with SOMETHING, possibly, but not necessarily the F-35.
What's your proposal, considering that these are being developed: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chengdu_J-20
And I say this being unsure what to do, we NEED a new jetfighter to replace the CF-18's, and like you, I'm not thrilled about the F-35, though, I don't agree with your hyperbole about running out of fuel and crashing...
Do we buy something like the F-18 Superhornet as a temporary stop-gap, with the understanding that we'll buy something equivalent to the F-22 when such a creature becomes available? I don't think we can afford to wait... So, honestly, what do you think?
It's not hyperbole, Anon. It was the finding of a simulation run by the Aussies using a mixed force of F-22s, F-18 super hornets and F-35s against a defending force of SU-27s and SU-30s. They even rigged the simulation to give all of the attackers' missiles 100% kill rates. The 35s and 22s carry such modest weapons loads that they ran out of missiles. Forced into dogfighting the Sukhois the 35s were gutted. Meanwhile enough Sukhois simply blasted straight through to take out the AWACS and forward positioned tankers. With no way to refuel, the 22s and 35s went down. That was the RAAF evaluation, not hyperbole.
The RAND Corporation created quite a stir by then chiming in that the F-35 can't outclimb, out-turn or even outrun, much less outfight the Russian jets and would be dead meat in a dogfight.
The F-35 is not a "multi-role fighter" and never was designed for that. It was conceived to operate with the F-22 as air cover. The F-35 is, in reality, a light bomber.
What Canada needs is a long-range, multi-role fighter capable of sovereignty patrol and interception, basic air to air combat, and ground attack.
I'm not taken with stealth. It's a gimmick at best. To put all our eggs in the F-35 basket is sheer foolishness. For the limited effective range of a stealth light bomber, cruise missiles are a much better option.
It'd be great if the US was to sell the F-22 but they won't and it's out of production in any case.
If you eliminate stealth then any upgraded 4th generation multi-role fighter might do. The upgraded F-15 with its impressive range, speed and firepower plus twin engine reliability would seem like a winner for use in the Canadian north.
I wasn't aware of the RAAF's simulation, but I did know about the RAND corporation pointing out that the F-35's capabilities are... limited? Pathetic? Abysmal?
Which is why I'm still pleasantly surprised to see someone on the political left actually debate this topic on the strength of the details. That's rare these days.
I'm guessing that the government wants the F-35 in particular because they want to campaign on the jobs that the parts and maintenance contracts could bring. I realize, that's more of a pipe-dream if none of our allies are stupid enough to buy the damned thing, but that's the theory anyway.
I agree with pretty much everything you said, I knew that the F-35 was light-bomber, at best. And I've been wondering myself if the Silent Eagle, which is I believe the upgraded F-15 you're referring to would be a much better investment, at least until something more like the F-22 comes along. But given that both the F-35, and the Silent Eagle are still in development, and we need to replace the CF-18's now.. what? Super-hornets? I'm honestly not sure, I just know we need to do something about the CF-18's.
Anon, you seem to be ill-informed. If you're of the Harper brand of Conservative you are of the radical, far right. You're part of the bible-thumping, science rejecting regime that Stephen Harper has brought to Canada. Perhaps that is why you perceive everyone else as being of the "Left." A good many of us reject both the left and the right. We're centrists.
And, anon, never forget that it was the American radical right, your Mr. Harper's "American Idol", that afflicted its country with a cancerous form of hyper-militarism and two failed foreign wars that will plague the US for decades to come. You will recall it was the decidedly centrist Jean Chretien who kept Canadian soldiers out of Iraq and the centre-right Paul Martin who signed us onto a very time limited commitment in Afghanistan that was pointlessly extended under your far-right ruler, Harper.
And as to your query of what we do from here, what aircraft we choose, there is only one answer. We choose the right aircraft. To do that we begin by defining what we need that aircraft to do for Canada over the coming 30-40 years. From that we specify essential performance characteristics. Having done that we issue those specifications to every suitable aircraft manufacturer to invite proposals. We then assess their proposals and conduct a competitive fly-off demonstration. At that point we compare the deals on offer, negotiate a final deal, and place our order. If you don't do that, Anon, you run a very high risk of saddling your military with the wrong airplane. It's that simple.
Mound - That's not entirely fair, I thought your original comment was much more balanced.
If the Harper Tories are the right, then what how shall I term the Liberals, the NDP and the Greens? Having looked at their policies, I find much more agreement and overlap than disagreement. I suppose I could be more specific.
Though, to be fair, and I am trying to be fair here, I believe that the Liberals under Chretein abandoned their claim to centerism, and they've been loath to take steps back towards the center.
And the American foriegn policy of getting involved in Afghanistan and Iraq wasn't necessarily bad, I'm convinced that what was truly ruinous was the war-profiteering and systematic corruption that emerged from the American involvement, not the military interventions themselves. America would be in demonstratably better shape if KBR and that bunch had not become involved.
And in the case of Afghanistan in particular, I don't think it's at all fair to suggest that doing away with the Taliban was somehow a negative. We really want that bunch to be allowed to possibly return and persist in Afghanistan? Let's keep some perspective here please.
Sure, let's keep some perspective. We might, perhaps, begin with your assertion of "doing away with the Taliban." Really? Do you actually think we've done away with the Taliban? Oh dear. The Talibs are the Pashtun home team and they already constitute the de facto government in much of the Afghan south. Pakistan will back them on our departure because that is in Islamabad's interests.
American foreign policy of getting into Iraq wasn't bad? Are we both from the same planet? It certainly wasn't bad for Iran which emerged as the dominant regional power but also was the benefactor of Maliki's Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad. That fiasco had nothing to do with war profiteering, nothing at all.
American foreign policy in Afghanistan has been equally as calamitous. The entire region from the Caspian Basin to the Pakistan/Indian border is now destabilized.
Russia is poised to capture control of the oil and gas riches in that region.
China is positioned to exploit most of Afghanistan's mineral wealth and to drive through an overland oil pipeline through Pakistan into Iran.
To counter that we're now supporting the Baloch insurgency in Pakistan's south. So we're fueling an insurgency against Islamabad and we expect Islamabad to cooperate with us against the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. That makes perfect sense, doesn't it?
That's the genius of rightwing foreign policy - it's incredibly short-term, it's reactionary, it's incoherent and contradictory and it's literally smothered in hubris.
That's why the richest, most powerful nation on earth goes to war with all the King's horses and all the King's men and can't defeat a bunch of tribesmen with Korean-war vintage assault rifles and RPGs.
OMG Anon, I can't imagine where you get your ideas from but they're not rooted in reality.
I assume that you're relatively young, Anon. That comes through in your views on the political spectrum. Today is not "normal", anything but. Richard Nixon, even Ronald Reagan, would be considered "lefties" in today's Republican world. The Right today, in the US and Canada, is on full "tilt" and nothing good is going to come of it. Nothing at all.
Do you actually think we've done away with the Taliban?
Of course not. I know that the proverbial beach-head could prove to be temporary. I may lack information, and yes, I am relatively young, but please, don't assume I'm stupid. What were we supposed to do? Go on letting Afghanistan develop people to fly planes into buildings? And look, I know that the Saudi's have their fingers in this thing way more than say the Bush administration was ever willing to admit.
American foreign policy of getting into Iraq wasn't bad?
Not necessarily. The execution was abysmal of course - not being aware of the sectarian tensions running beneath the surface is unacceptable, to name a single example out of many. But neither are the political machinations of the media. The mission accomplished rhetoric pushed by Keith Olbermann was extremely misleading for instance. The "Mission Accomplished" banner was in honour of the carrier returning from deployment, and Bush did not declare the mission accomplished, but stressed that more work was required. It was not an instance of "we're done" but of "we're rotating home."
That's why the richest, most powerful nation on earth goes to war with all the King's horses and all the King's men and can't defeat a bunch of tribesmen with Korean-war vintage assault rifles and RPGs.
Excuse me, but that view lacks a bit of nuance. Guerilla-style insurgencies are notoriously difficult to deal with, especially when the insurgency can draw on a vast pool of Islamist manpower and funding from other countries. As you put it, all the King's Horses and all the King's Men have won, and will win any conventional non-guerilla battle every single time. But of course, it's not that simple, and we both know it - there's a lot more to defeating the enemy, especially in this case than simply defeating them like we did the Germans. And the right-wing isn't so stupid to pack up and go home.
But then again, I didn't know much about the Baloch insurgency, and now that you've drawn my attention to it, I'm going to research the topic. I hope this demonstrates that I'm willing to reconsider my positions when I become aware of new evidence.
Today is not "normal", anything but. Richard Nixon, even Ronald Reagan, would be considered "lefties" in today's Republican world. The Right today, in the US and Canada, is on full "tilt" and nothing good is going to come of it. Nothing at all.
That could be. But. I have a little issue with swallowing such a position wholesale. I'm also always willing to give a reasoned critic of the right-wing a chance. And my comments about being pleased that someone who lists their blog on the Progressive Bloggers is willing to say that we need a fighter jet. Some of the Progressive Bloggers are questioning why we even have the Canadian Forces, and doing so very poorly I might add.
I suggest that the right is full tilt because the left is also. We have human rights commissions which are increasingly being used to stifle freedom of speech, government beureaucracies which are doing everything possible to strip us of our rights, the police increasingly being used to attack and marginalize ordinary citizens for non-crimes. I suggest that these aren't necessarily right-wing policies; for what it's worth, I certainly don't support them. So, a question to you.
Gun control. Why are the NDP, the Liberals, and the Greens consistently opposed to the rights of ordinary citizens? Gun owners have only one choice on the ballot, Harper. What would you have gun owners do? Please be careful, I'm a lot better at discussing gun control than international relations.
"doing away with the Taliban" - you raised that, not me. What were we supposed to do? How about something other than what we did. Some years ago a Senate Foreign Relations committee staffer testifying before Congress noted that there has never been a successful, stable Muslim state that didn't first overcome the dual scourges of tribalism and warlordism.
We enshrined both of those in setting up the post-Taliban government, thereby ensuring our failure and allowing the Kabul government to become what Chatham House describes as a "criminal enterprise." Sheer right wing stupidity.
Bush drove al Qaeda out but he botched his fleeting opportunity to take out its leadership when that still mattered. That enabled the Islamist movement to morph out, to decentralize, and to migrate into new areas such as North Africa. More right wing stupidity.
When Bush/Cheney opted to go into Iraq they fired General Shinseki who warned they would need at least 300,000 troops on the ground. Instead those right wing geniuses decided they could go in, topple Saddam and be out in 60 days leaving a compliant Sunni government behind. That goes beyond stupidity but was the hallmark right wing ideology of the Project for a New American Century created by nutjobs like Cheney, Rumsfeld, Feith, Perle and Wolfowitz.
The right is full "tilt" because the left is also? Where did you get that? The "left" is all but non-existant today. Even the NDP has turned centrist, following the path Tony Blair charted for Labour. This leftwing radicalism you see can exist only in your head because it's nowhere in the real world.
Gun control. Are you a gun owner? I am. The long gun registry never prevented anyone who was fit to have a gun from having one. Rights of ordinary citizens? Oh please, spare me.
If you're concerned about the rights of ordinary citizens, why not focus on what matters, their democratic rights? Those are the very rights being fiercely suppressed by Harper when he gags the civil and armed services and insinuates his PMO staff to decide what questions Canadians can put to their civil servants and then massage the replies to conform, not to reality, but to Harper policy?
If you can accept that sort of undemocratic abuse, your concerns about the rights of ordinary citizens are nonsense. You support the most authoritarian, secretive, dishonest and manipulative government probably in all of Canadian history. Please don't moan about rights.
Oh yeah, by the way - "we" didn't defeat the Germans. It was those awful Commie bastards the Soviets who deserve the lion's share of credit for that.
Bush drove al Qaeda .. areas such as North Africa. More right wing stupidity.
Nonsense. The Islamist movement was already present in North Africa, and already plenty decentralized. Bush's bungling may well have accelerated Islamist progres. It hardly created it. But I agree on the al'Qaeda leadership.
The "left" is .. radicalism you see can exist only in your head because it's nowhere in the real world.
So, what do you call a Human Rights Commission then?
This brings me to something else. Here I am, paying attention and really trying to listen to you, and you're going to brow-beat, and insult me into submission? From where I sit, if you have to do that, you're on the wrong side of this thing.
Gun.. spare me.
Yup, I'm a gun-owner. It's probably the single issue that guarantees I continue to support the Harper government. Whatever else they may be up to, they're the only game in town who is actively trying to keep me out of jail. In Dalton McGuinty's Ontario I could have a bank-vault for a safe, and if it was broken into, no matter what it took, I would be on trial for unsafe storage of firearms. The state would act like the theft was entirely my fault. How's that fair or decent or reasonable in our society? The Liberals had years to do something about it, they're responsible for passing the Firearms act. The Greens have promised to ban semi-automatics, as have the NDP. All of the Progressive parties treat me as a suspect, and remain ready to prosecute me for even the slightest error. What option do I have?
Those.. Harper policy?
As a civil servant, I've never been subjected to such a gag-order. Second, the entrenched beureaucrats are in some cases fiercely loyal to the Liberal party, and are loath to see their government out of power. The Ammunition regulations recently published in the Canada Gazette could be taken as a perfect example. I strongly suspect that this is the underlying reason behind Harper's obsession with message control. Perhaps this doesn't justify the extreme lengths that Harper is going to. Throwing a tantrum about it isn't going to fix a damned thing - quite the contrary. When that parliamentary page pulled her little stunt during the throne-speech, she gave Harper all the justification he needed to continue the secrecy. I suspect that Harper has concluded that the only solution to a potentialy hostile civil service is to wait for attrition to bring on some less partisan appointments. And don't think that I naievely believe that Harper won't put his people into places of power. Speaking as bit of an insider, it takes a lot longer than five years to clear out a generation of deeply entrenched Liberal mandarins.
In other words, as a private citizen, I can think and say what I wish. But as a public servant, I have to support the lawful instructions of the government of the day. That would include turning myself in as an evil gun-owner if the NDP was in power.
You support... don't moan about rights.
Now that's ridiculous hyperbole. You think that Alan Rock and his gang of charter-shredding nitwits were any better? Ann Coulter is so reviled at the University of Ottawa that she mustn't even be allowed to speak? Not simply ignored, or ridiculed, but actively silenced, and censored? I have no great love for Ann Coulter, but we're supposed to have freedom of speech in this country - I find it utterly abhorrent that she should be threatened and bullied into silence, even if she's absolutely wrong, and outrageously offensive. Thanks to the likes of Alan Rock and like-minded supporters of Human Rights kangaroo courts, we've lost the most funadmental right of our political life. And the only group that has done the least to do away with this fundamental injustice is the Conservative Party of Canada. If anything that should be a huge embarasssment to the Liberals et al, but they've only enabled these jokers to prosecute people like Ezra Levant for having the sheer gall to print something that was highly relevant to a story that was on everybody's lips. What are Canadians supposed to do? We've got Charter shredders like Elizabeth May, Bob Rae, and Thomas Mulcair, and we've got totalitarian control-freaks like Harper. The only difference is that Harper hasn't done anything to shut me up, at least, not yet.
So, sorry, but it's you who shouldn't be talking about rights. Harper has done nothing to undermine my rights. The NDP, the Liberals, and the Greens are salivating for the chance.
And excuse me for looking for a viable alternative, but if your antics are any indication, I'll not find it with anybody you'd support.
Nobody from your side ever acknowledges that problem - that my options all suck, and nobody from your side actually wants to offer me a good option. All they do is try to convince me of how bad Harper is. As experience has shown this isn't a viable political strategy, it certainly isn't with me. Have you got anythign else to offer, or is this just a waste of your time?
Anon, I think we've exhausted this conversation. Your saving grace is curiosity, something in no great supply these days. Use it, indulge it but do that in a disciplined way. You need to work on separating wheat from chaff. Trust me, that takes time and commitment.
As parting gifts I have two things for you. The first is FM3-24, the US military's field manual on counterinsurgency warfare. This was done by a mixed group of military and civilian experts headed by David Petraeus before he became a commander in Iraq. It digests the lessons of insurgency warfare going back to Caesar and it enumerates a counterinsurgency list of dos and don'ts. It's really quite sensible and there's nothing particularly remarkable about it except when you come to realize that virtually every lesson in that manual was ignored in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The other gift is a reference to the RAND Corporation evaluation of the war in Afghanistan. RAND examined every major insurgency in modern history and boiled it down to checklists, factors that determined victory or failure for counterinsurgent forces. When they ran the numbers for Afghanistan they found it a conclusive and irredeemable failure. For what it's worth, using their criteria I scored the Afghan war almost the same as RAND.
Work on clarity and focus. It'll do you a lot of good in the long run. Good luck.
I will add this link to my page documenting the massive fail that is the F35. Of all the information I have seen it is the ausairpower comparison to the F105 that is most compelling. The F105 was the only US plane ever decommissioned for ineptitude,and the F35 is a carbon fiber copy.
Also there are lots of links indicating the Chinese have hacked the specs for this plane.
Actually I'm not sure I agree with you, Steve, on the F105. Republic's flying brick was purpose built for a single role, to penetrate hostile territory, deliver a single nuclear bomb, and transit out. That's all it was designed to do. It even had a bomb bay to house its rather large nuclear weapon. It relied on speed to evade interception and was never intended for dogfighting or close support or anything else. It could, and did, carry a lot of ordinance to downtown Hanoi. When it was shot down it was usually when flying at medium altitudes setting up a bombing run. Low and fast, where it was designed to work, it did quite well. If Migs were spotted in the vicinity the 105, if it had time, could usually out accelerate them and outrun them.
Question: What's wrong with the Super Hornet? It seems like a decent upgrade from the CF-18...?
Well Brandon the more evidence piles up that we're on the advent of a new paradigm in warfare, cyber-war, the more sense it makes to go with something like the F-18F.
From what AviationWeek reports, it's the electronic sophistication of the F-35 and its supporting AWACS and Joint Stars command aircraft that creates sensor windows ideally suited to cyber attack. Sensors that are soaking up data can be exploited to upload malware into their systems.
I'm coming to believe we saw the first of this sort of cyber-attack just before Christmas when the Iranians seized control of a Lockheed/USAF stealth drone and brought it down safely into their own hands.
The fact that our CF-18s are nearing the end of their service life doesn't mean we have to replace them with a blunder. We should play it safe and go with an advanced, 4th Gen + alternative.
I have to say, I believe the F35 to be a joke. Not enough stealth to be effective, the stealth technology there is reduces payload and performance, and it just stretches itself too thin. If i had a true say in the matter, I would start negotiations with the Russians to join with them in the aircraft they are developing. We are too dependent on the americans, and it will cause problems for us in the future.
The Russian military companies are already coming up with equipment that will be able to find F35s with ease. My source for this information is in the October issue of Popular Mechanics. An American magazine is openly questioning the capabilities of the F35, and yet we blunder ever on.
In response for the gun issue, I Love the fact that Harper got rid of the registration act, but only because it cost way too much money.
All the registraton needed was to have every weapon manufactured or imported into Canada have its serial number sent to a central location, and then when the gun was bought, the identity of the buyer was sent as well. How this operation, which a couple people sitting in an office could do by themselves, cost billions of dollars is beond me.
The new ammunition act is rediculous though. According to my PAL course and test, (that I took this year)my firearms can be stored in a glass display case, as long as the ammunition is in a separate room, and in a locked box. Now i will be treated as a criminal if my little personal safe full of ammunition is able to be removed. They seriously think that a box of .22 ammunition, which I have bought in many stores withought most of them asking to see my card, is more dangerous than the actual rifles?
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