Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) News and Discussions

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
This recovery along with the flight recorders should allow for determining a cause. Hope it isn’t a software/FBW problem.
 

Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
Canada is to procure two new Bombardier Challenger 650 business jets to replace a pair of older 601-model aircraft that have been in service for more than 30 years.

More information at
 

Calculus

Active Member
Looks like the CH-148 Cyclone crash was likely due to combination of a software flaw (or, more accurately, there was a flight envelope scenario that was not in the programming) and some "unexpected" pilot input. A hardware problem appears to have been ruled out. At this point the investigation is still ongoing, but limited flight operations are going to start up shortly. So, it appears they are fairly confident they know the cause (or causes), and can mitigate against a recurrence with further training on what to do if the same scenario happens again.

The video at the following link is quite informative: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/cyclone-helicopter-crash-1.5613239
 
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ASSAIL

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Looks like the CH-148 Cyclone crash was likely due to combination of a software flaw (or, more accurately, there was a flight envelope scenario that was not in the programming) and some "unexpected" pilot input. A hardware problem appears to have been ruled out. At this point the investigation is still ongoing, but limited flight operations are going to start up shortly. So, it appears they are fairly confident they know the cause (or causes), and can mitigate against a recurrence with further training on what to do if the same scenario happens again.

The video at the following link is quite informative: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/cyclone-helicopter-crash-1.5613239
That interview sounded like the investigators were extremely cautious about criticising the FCS.
My interpretation is that the FCS overrode the pilots inputs and crashed the aircraft, is that what the experienced members take from this?
 

Calculus

Active Member
That interview sounded like the investigators were extremely cautious about criticising the FCS.
My interpretation is that the FCS overrode the pilots inputs and crashed the aircraft, is that what the experienced members take from this?
A bit more detail here: Military to return Cyclone helicopters to service 'in the coming days'

"National Defence officials say a conflict arose between the helicopter's autopilot software and the flight crew's maneuvers in the moments before the crash."
 

Albedo

Member
The U.S. government has approved the potential sale of an extensive upgrade package, dubbed the Hornet Extension Program, for Canada's CF-18A/B+ Hornet fighter jets. The proposed deal most notably includes enough AN/APG-79(V)4 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars to equip two squadrons worth of jets, which would give those aircraft a desperately needed boost in their ability to detect, track, and engage threats at extended ranges. The U.S. military's Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced that the State Department had signed off on the prospective sales, valued at $862.3 million in total, on June 16, 2020. In addition to the 38 radars, the package now on offer also includes 50 AIM-9X Block II air-to-air missiles, as well as additional training versions of the AIM-9X, and 20 AGM-154C Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW) glide bombs.
So days after the order of 2 new Challenger jets and 2 new JSS, military procurement is still definitely proceeding apace despite pandemic budget pressures. We're now spending $862.3 million USD to upgrade 36 CF-18 Hornets with new radars and missiles to keep them combat relevant and allow them to serve alongside the future CF-18 replacements until the new fleet is fully delivered in the 2030s. Not exactly cheap, but at this point after more than a decade of bungling on the CF-18 replacement there's not much choice.

The munitions can carry forward to the CF-18 replacement, but the APG-79(V)4 AESA will only get a decades use. There was some talk recently in the Navy Forum about the Lockheed Martin Vigilance pod design which mounts removable fighter-size radars on helicopters to provide an AEW capability. One way to get the most of this Hornet Extension Program would be to convert the APG-79(V)4 to Vigilance pods for the CH-148 Cyclone as the CF-18s are retired.
 
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MrConservative

Super Moderator
Staff member

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
DND and junior’s minions trying to appease the public over the recent Challenger purchase. Why all the BS for something that is actually required. Hell, just saying these are needed for COVID prevention for critical VIPs, political or professional, would be deemed reasonable by most people.

 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
Perhaps 1 or 2 of these jets would be better than Challengers, which are already a export success. These VIP A220 jets may appeal to electorates worldwide that don’t want to pay for larger narrow bodies or especially wide body VIP jets. From junior’s perspective, this alternative appeases his friends in Quebec.

 

Albedo

Member
Perhaps 1 or 2 of these jets would be better than Challengers, which are already a export success. These VIP A220 jets may appeal to electorates worldwide that don’t want to pay for larger narrow bodies or especially wide body VIP jets. From junior’s perspective, this alternative appeases his friends in Quebec.

The A220-300 doesn't have the range of the Challenger 650 though. Personally, I thought they should have considered a Global Express 7500/8000. It's large enough to put the VIP, a few staff, and a few reporters so could better fill in for the CC-150 Polaris on international trips if required now that they are getting long in the tooth and a CC-150 replacement supposedly has to wait until after the CF-18 replacement is selected to ensure air-to-air refuelling compatibility. It's also faster than the Challenger, still has similar take-off and landing distances, and has enough range to reach pretty much anywhere in the world from Ottawa. Admittedly that flexibility does double the price per plane.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
The standard A220-300 has a range of 3300 nautical miles versus Challenger’s 4,000 but perhaps a VIP version could accommodate additional fuel. However, your suggestion of going with a Global 7500 is a good one. Great range and speed but the price is higher.
 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer

Here is the official announcement from the DSCA. A fairly extensive package all up.

This sale will provide Canada a 2-squadron bridge of enhanced F/A-18A aircraft to continue meeting NORAD and NATO commitments while it gradually introduces new advanced aircraft via the Future Fighter Capability Program between 2025 and 2035.
Honestly I have to question just how long, and how effective, such an upgrade programme would take and be. IIRC the initial production run of Block I F/A-18E/F SHornets, kitted with the APG-73 radar instead of the APG-79 AESA radar, could not be upgraded to the APG-79 without changing the entire nosecone/radome. The space and shape the APG-73 occupied was different from what the APG-79 required. Now the F/A-18 A/B Classic Hornets, or at least the ones in RAAF service, had been upgraded from the earlier APG-65.

This makes me wonder whether or not the APG-79(V)4 has been purposefully redesigned to fit into the same space, or whether the exterior shape of the RCAF Hornets getting upgraded will also need modification. The other, related question is just how long this is expected to take? Reading through the DSCA release, it seems the intent is to provide the RCAF and upgraded bridging capability while Canada's Future Fighter Capability Program runs between 2025 and 2035. Unless Canada can purchase the required bits and bobs for the upgrades for dirt cheap pricing, and then carry out the actual upgrades for minimal cost and very rapidly, I suspect that Canada will have once again spent more than it needed to and gotten less value than what it paid for.

The phrase, "you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear," comes to mind. I do sort of wonder whether or not the RCAF (if the USN was willing to let them 'jump' the production queue) would have been able to purchase a sqd or two of Growlers and gotten them into RCAF service faster and for overall comparable or less money. Sustaining a fighter fleet that has already seen service for a generation is going to become more and more resource intensive.
 

Albedo

Member
Honestly I have to question just how long, and how effective, such an upgrade programme would take and be. IIRC the initial production run of Block I F/A-18E/F SHornets, kitted with the APG-73 radar instead of the APG-79 AESA radar, could not be upgraded to the APG-79 without changing the entire nosecone/radome. The space and shape the APG-73 occupied was different from what the APG-79 required. Now the F/A-18 A/B Classic Hornets, or at least the ones in RAAF service, had been upgraded from the earlier APG-65.

This makes me wonder whether or not the APG-79(V)4 has been purposefully redesigned to fit into the same space, or whether the exterior shape of the RCAF Hornets getting upgraded will also need modification. The other, related question is just how long this is expected to take? Reading through the DSCA release, it seems the intent is to provide the RCAF and upgraded bridging capability while Canada's Future Fighter Capability Program runs between 2025 and 2035. Unless Canada can purchase the required bits and bobs for the upgrades for dirt cheap pricing, and then carry out the actual upgrades for minimal cost and very rapidly, I suspect that Canada will have once again spent more than it needed to and gotten less value than what it paid for.

The phrase, "you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear," comes to mind. I do sort of wonder whether or not the RCAF (if the USN was willing to let them 'jump' the production queue) would have been able to purchase a sqd or two of Growlers and gotten them into RCAF service faster and for overall comparable or less money. Sustaining a fighter fleet that has already seen service for a generation is going to become more and more resource intensive.
Raytheon has been selected to supply active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars for the U.S. Marine Corps’ F/A-18C/D “classic” Hornet fleet, the company announced on January 15. The APG-79(v)4 radar will be delivered from 2020 with deliveries completing in 2022.

The APG-79(v)4 shares around 90 percent commonality with the APG-79 that is installed in the F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and EA-19G Growlers of the U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Air Force. The radar has been scaled to adapt it to the classic Hornet.
Yes the APG-79(V)4 is a scaled version of the APG-79 from the Super Hornet, but specifically designed to fit the Classic Hornet. What makes Canada's upgrade program kind of sensible is that the USMC already announced an upgrade program which includes the APG-79(V)4 for their Classic Hornets to keep them viable into the 2030s so Canada isn't having to pay for/invent something new and is largely tacking on to the US program. The USMC and RCAF on the same page should keep sustainability manageable and overall aircraft capability acceptable for NORAD and expeditionary operations.

There was originally a Canadian plan a few years ago for an interim Super Hornet buy, but then Boeing decided to try to sink Bombardier's C-Series program and accusations flew that an interim Super Hornet buy would bias the overall CF-18 replacement process toward the Super Hornet so we ended up buying second-hand Australian Classic Hornet's instead.
 

south

Active Member
Honestly I have to question just how long, and how effective, such an upgrade programme would take and be. IIRC the initial production run of Block I F/A-18E/F SHornets, kitted with the APG-73 radar instead of the APG-79 AESA radar, could not be upgraded to the APG-79 without changing the entire nosecone/radome. The space and shape the APG-73 occupied was different from what the APG-79 required. Now the F/A-18 A/B Classic Hornets, or at least the ones in RAAF service, had been upgraded from the earlier APG-65.

This makes me wonder whether or not the APG-79(V)4 has been purposefully redesigned to fit into the same space, or whether the exterior shape of the RCAF Hornets getting upgraded will also need modification. The other, related question is just how long this is expected to take? Reading through the DSCA release, it seems the intent is to provide the RCAF and upgraded bridging capability while Canada's Future Fighter Capability Program runs between 2025 and 2035. Unless Canada can purchase the required bits and bobs for the upgrades for dirt cheap pricing, and then carry out the actual upgrades for minimal cost and very rapidly, I suspect that Canada will have once again spent more than it needed to and gotten less value than what it paid for.

The phrase, "you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear," comes to mind. I do sort of wonder whether or not the RCAF (if the USN was willing to let them 'jump' the production queue) would have been able to purchase a sqd or two of Growlers and gotten them into RCAF service faster and for overall comparable or less money. Sustaining a fighter fleet that has already seen service for a generation is going to become more and more resource intensive.
As noted above the APG-79v4 can drop straight into the nose cone without requiring extensive modifications (e.g extra cooling). The original APG79 as fitted to SuperHornet cannot. For the RCAF or other classic users this sounds like a no brainer if you wanted to extend their life and will make the jets better at DCA and some mission roles. However, unless the RCAF incorporate aspects like the RAAF HUG the survivability in complex environments becomes a challenge. Makes them distinctly DCA, homeland defence and unopposed CAS assets.
 

Albedo

Member
As noted above the APG-79v4 can drop straight into the nose cone without requiring extensive modifications (e.g extra cooling). The original APG79 as fitted to SuperHornet cannot. For the RCAF or other classic users this sounds like a no brainer if you wanted to extend their life and will make the jets better at DCA and some mission roles. However, unless the RCAF incorporate aspects like the RAAF HUG the survivability in complex environments becomes a challenge. Makes them distinctly DCA, homeland defence and unopposed CAS assets.
Canada’s CF-18s are of a similar configuration to those of the RAAF, having undergone an extensive upgrade in the late 1990s and early 2000s to a configuration similar to that of Australia’s multi-phased AIR 5375 Hornet Upgrade Program (HUG). Canadian CF-18s are fitted with a spotlight on the forward port fuselage, and there are minor differences in the weapons carried and in operational flight program software.
I don't have a direct comparison, but the CF-18s did undergo a Incremental Modernization Project in the 2000s that on the surface seems similar to the RAAF HUG including upgrades to communications, navigation, computer, electronic warfare, etc. If the RAAF Hornets were significantly different than the CF-18s, even if they were better, it would have been even harder to justify the purchase since they'd have to be maintained as 2 fleets. So with the upcoming upgrades we'll probably end up having some of the best Classic Hornets in a world where everyone else is moving to 5th gen fighters. o_O
 

south

Active Member

I don't have a direct comparison, but the CF-18s did undergo a Incremental Modernization Project in the 2000s that on the surface seems similar to the RAAF HUG including upgrades to communications, navigation, computer, electronic warfare, etc. If the RAAF Hornets were significantly different than the CF-18s, even if they were better, it would have been even harder to justify the purchase since they'd have to be maintained as 2 fleets. So with the upcoming upgrades we'll probably end up having some of the best Classic Hornets in a world where everyone else is moving to 5th gen fighters. o_O
From what I could find the RCAF hornets have the same RWR (ALR-67v3) but I didn’t see anything else about EW suite. Increasingly if you don’t have a Jammer (e.g 8222 for the RAAF), Significant amounts of countermeasures ( BOL), Towed Decoys (not fitted to RAAF classics) it is becomingly difficult to suggest you have a survivable jet, particularly when it is not LO.
 
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south

Active Member
Delay, delay, junior’s replacement plan. This upgrade is lipstick on a pig and money down the drain.
without getting into any politics you could argue buying late will save some money.

For example by pushing an F-35 buy back 10 years you can save a significant amount of money from LRIP to FRP, (just compare LRIP7/8 to LRIP14 costs) whilst not requiring subsequent upgrades.

this cost may or may not be offset by what the RCAF are having to spend to maintain the FA18 fleet.

the danger you have is a capability issue if you go to war in the meantime...
 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
For example by pushing an F-35 buy back 10 years you can save a significant amount of money from LRIP to FRP, (just compare LRIP7/8 to LRIP14 costs) whilst not requiring subsequent upgrades.

this cost may or may not be offset by what the RCAF are having to spend to maintain the FA18 fleet.

the danger you have is a capability issue if you go to war in the meantime...
The maintenance costs are one of the concerns I have about attempting to upgrade even two dozen Classic Hornets and delay their replacement until circa ~2035. By that time, any CF-18 Hornets built for Canada will be at least 46 years old, and any ex-RAAF Hornets would be at least 44 years old. Given that the design had a planned service life of ~6,000 flight hours IIRC, trying to keep even a small and decreasing number of airframes going by that time is going to take more resources and effort to ensure that aircraft are airworthy. Even if all the avionics are completely replaced with upgraded systems, there will be concerns about metal fatigue and structural cracking. These concerns can of course be addressed by more frequent and thorough inspection and maintenance regimes, but at some point the resource costs in terms of funding, time and personnel, plus the capability outputs of the basic design are almost certainly going to be outweighed by either what else is available, and/or what others are using.
 
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