Tag Archives: Canada

The F-35 takes a hit – from Canada

The Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II on Tuesday 22 November took a major hit. Not in any mock 1 vs 1 dog fight or any large scale military exercise, but in the political arena. By choosing the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet as an interim solution to its immediate fighter jet needs, Canada is signalling that the F-35’s development takes to long and its price tag is to high.

Canada is looking to buy 18 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets as  immediate replacements of ageing ‘legacy’ model F-18 Hornets. If a deal with Boeing is finalized, delivery of new jets should take no more than two or three years.

With the F-35, that would take considerably longer, not to mention the fact that development and testing of this 5th generation fighter jet – and its software along with it – may not even be finished by then. Recent progress in the program still doesn’t mean the jet is capable of firing its internal gun, for example.

Later purchase

Canada has pondered and postponed an F-35 purchase for many years. Today’s selection of the Super Hornet does not exclude the possibility that the Canadian government in Ottawa may still purchase the F-35 at a later stage. However, the 400 billion USD weapons program has been the subject of much criticism in Canada, especially its 100 million USD per piece price tag.

A RAAF F-18 in flight (Image © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
An F/A-18F Super Hornet.

Partner nation

Nevertheless, Canada’s choice is remarkable and concerning for Lockheed Martin and the F-35’s Joint Program Office (JPO) in Washington, since the country is a level 3 partner in the program. Other level 3 partners are Australia, Norway, Denmark, Turkey, all of which have selected the F-35 as their new fighter jet.

Unique

In fact, Canada now is unique in being the only partner nation in the program not to actually buy the F-35 – for now. By doing so, it’s industry will benefit from taking part in the program, without tax payers having to cough up billions of dollars to actually buy the jets. For other nations however, it means that their jets will have higher price tags, since fewer jets sold means that development and production costs per aircraft remain higher than anticipated. That will cause some sour faces in other partner nations.

A CF-188 is preparing for flight at Bagotville in Quebec (Image © Corporal Marc-André Gaudreault, Canadian Forces Combat Camera / DND-MDN)
One of Canada’s ageing ‘legacy’ Hornets. (Image © Corporal Marc-André Gaudreault, Canadian Forces Combat Camera / DND-MDN)

Reputation

Yes, both Lockheed Martin and Ottawa will downplay this and probably point to a possible Canadian fighter jet competition still to be held. But the truth is, it is a major hit for the JPO’s promise of lower unit costs and the F-35’s reputation – which saw a change for the better in 2016, partly due to appearances in the Netherlands and the UK.

It will be interesting to see what comes out of other fighter jet competitions that see the F-35 and Super Hornet go head to head, such as the current ones in Belgium and Finland. The former beat the latter earlier this year in Denmark. Following today’s decision in Canada, that makes the score even.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

 

Bombardier CSeries catches more wind

Bombardier of Canada has been struggling with it CSeries for years, but herhaps no more since Delta ordered 75 aircraft in April and especially since Air Canada has just finalized its previously announced agreement to buy at least 45 new CS300 airliners, with options on another 30 of the same type.

Alain Bellemare, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bombardier formulated it like this: “This order is a major statement of support for Canada’s aerospace industry and will help support thousands of C Series related jobs. It also serves as an important catalyst for renewed interest and subsequent orders.”

While developing the new aircraft, Bombardier hit serious financial difficulties – with even the tests of the new CS series hit by delays and other issues. But the finalization of the Air Canada deal brings hope to a healthy aviation industry with the Maple Leaf flag in top.

Bombardier has at least 288 firm orders for the CS100 and the larger CS300, with Swiss being the launch customer this year. Deliveries to Air Canada are scheduled to begin in late 2019 and extend to 2022. The order is worth 3.8 billion US dollars.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com senior contributor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A CSeries seen during testing. (Image © Bombardier)

Swedish-Canadian aircraft “to make stealth obsolete”

Behold of the newest invention from Sweden. It doesn’t come in flat cardboard box, but in a fancy composite materials finishing on the back of a Canadian designed business jet. The Saab/Bombardier GlobalEye 6000 is about to make stealth technology, like of the Lockheed Martin F-35 and the Irkut T-50, obsolete.

Or at least that is what Micael Johansson, head of Saab’s business area Electronic Defence Systems, is telling these days. The GlobalEye will automatically detect and track air and surface targets over a huge area, both on land, at sea and in the air.

‘Stealthy’ aircraft

Ground surveillance of moving vehicles can be conducted through long-range, wide-area ground moving target indication (GMTI) radar modes. The GlobalEye system can track very low-observable air and sea targets, including ‘stealthy’ aircraft, cruise missiles or submarine periscopes, even in heavy clutter and jamming environments.

Surveillance

“GlobalEye is a game changer that delivers a unique swing-role capability for simultaneous air, maritime and ground surveillance in a single solution, with the ability to change role dynamically, while airborne during any mission,” says Johansson.

Saab Erieye

The new radar system is marketed on the back of a Bombardier Global 6000 business jet. It is the successor of the Saab Erieye, of which 22 have been delivered on different aircraft to various countries: Brazil (5 R-99 (Embraer E145/Saab Erieye)), Greece (4 EMB-145H (Embraer E145/Saab Erieye), Pakistan (4 Saab Erieye 2000 (Saab 2000), United Arab Emirates (2 Saab 2000 Erieye, plus 2 Bombardier Global 6000/Erieye ordered), Saudi Arabia (2 Saab 2000 Erieye (Saab 2000), Sweden (2 Saab S 100D (Saab 340/Saab Erieye)), Thailand (2 S 100B (Saab 340/Saab Erieye), Mexico (1 E-99 (Embraer E145/Saab Erieye).

United Arab Emirates AEW&C

The United Arab Emirates will be the first to field a version of the new radar mounted onto the Global 6000, of an order placed in November 2015. Although there is some criticism in Swedish parliament against selling the AEW&C system to countries at war (the UAE fights in Yemen), the deal is considered to go through.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: Computer rendering of the new Swedish-Canadian Saab/Bombardier GlobalEye 6000 (Image © Saab AB)

Canadian F-18 Hornets ‘knock it off’

Royal Canadian Air Force F-18 Hornets end their contribution to the fight against Daesh forces in Iraq and Syria in two weeks, the Canadian government announced on Monday 8 February. The Canadian mission went by the name of Operation Impact and until 1 February totalled 237 air strikes.

Canada’s liberal prime-minister Justin Trudeau was sworn into office last November and had promised voters to stop Canadian bombing. Trudeau now lives up to that promise, much to the dismay of the US and coalition partners.

The aircraft from Canada started their contribution on 2 November 2014, flying only missions over Iraq. In April 2015, the Canadian government also authorized missions over Syria. Six F-18 Hornets and CC-150 Polaris tanker were involved. The aircraft operated from Kuwait all the time.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: A RCAF CF-188 Hornet escorting a CC-150 Polaris (Image © Sgt Alain Martineau / DND-MDN Canada)

Canada: one step closer to new fixed wing SAR

Canada is set to close a tender for a new Fix Wing Search and Rescue (FWSAR) aircraft on 11 January. Making a bid are FNM Aeronautics (formerly Alenia Aermacchi) with its C-27J Spartan,  Airbus with its C295 and reportedly, Embraer with its yet-to-finish-development KC-390. Also, Lockheed Martin wil probably pitch its C-130J Super Hercules.

The closing of the tender marks the beginning of a selection in which the Brazilian KC-390 is definitely an outsider with a marginally chance of winning. The new aircraft should replace ageing de Havilland CC-115 Buffalos and Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules aircraft needed for other tasks.

The CC-115 has been in service for nearly five decades, providing long range SAR coverage over vast empty oceans and vast empty stretches of Arctic ice. The new aircraft is to do exactly the same.

A C-27J Spartan. (Image © Jorge Ruivo)
A C-27J Spartan. (Image © Jorge Ruivo)

Quest

Canada’s quest for an FWSAR aircraft has been a prolonged one. It started in 2004 and should have materialized into a ready aircraft in 2009. For various and mainly political reasons, that never happened.

The new type should be selected later in 2016 and deliveries are to start in 2018 with completion in 2023. A number of 17 aircraft has been mentioned, but it remains to be seen wether that will actually be the number on the final contract.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: A Royal Canadian Air Force CC-115 Buffalo. (Image © RCAF / Miranda Langguth)

First flight of the new KC-390 (Image © Embraer S.A.)
The new KC-390, seen here during its first flight. (Image © Embraer S.A.)