Wednesday, April 25, 2012

F-35, the Wrong Plane at the Wrong Time

A retired RCAF Colonel who served as fleet manager of our CF-18s has said the obvious - the F-35 has no place in the defence of Canada.

Retired colonel Paul Maillet, an aerospace engineer and former CF-18 fleet manager, said the F-35 does not meet the needs of the government's Canada First Defence Strategy, a key pillar of which is Arctic sovereignty.

``How do you get a single engine, low-range, low-payload, low-maneuverability aircraft that is being optimized for close air support to operate effectively in the North?'' he asked.

Maillet called the F-35 a ``serious strategic mismatch'' to Canada's military needs, and suggested the Royal Canadian Air Force would be better off purchasing a fleet of F-18 E/F fighters.

Hmm, let's see - single engine unreliability, check.   Short range, check.  Small payload, check.  Sub-par maneuverability, check.   The Colonel added that it's possible the F-35 will be obsolete soon after it enters service, checkmate.

The F-35, the airplane that transforms boneheadedness into a virtue.


Altavistagoogle said...

How does buying any jet for the arctic make sense when we are currently defending it with snowmobiles and none of our NATO colleagues fully recognize our sovereingty over the north-west pasage?

Every dollar spent on defence is a waist.

Anonymous said...

I think Colonel Maillet has got it exactly right. The RCAF could purchase twice the number of twin engined, long range Super Hornets for half the cost of half the number of the crippled single engine, short range F-35 aircraft.

It would be a sensible transition strategy for Canada as we move from manned to unmanned aircraft.

Boris said...

What I'd like to see is a serious and creative military conversation about how exactly a small armed forces like ours defends a large specific geography like the North.

Maybe run a massive freeplay exercise up there. Have the CDS send a third of the CF to occupy and defend an island or similar patch of geography, Falklands style, and then order another third to retake it. Determine our kit requirements from the results.

Anonymous said...

Gentlemen air combat is all about first sight, first kill... a couple of F-35s could take out a squadron of F-18s without sweating.

The Mound of Sound said...

Really, Anon? With what exactly? I'm old enough to remember when the bright lights of an earlier age made a very similar claim for the F-4 Phantom. A pair of F-35s carrying, perhaps, four AAMs are going to take out a squadron of F-18s? And, don't forget, once the F-35 is forced to maneuver to evade, its stealth evaporates.

No, sorry, but the Americans believed the F-4 would do all manner of things right up until it was tested in combat. Fool me once...