Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) News and Discussions

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
I am honestly not so certain that outcome will occur. TBH I would not be surprised if the selection has already been made by pollies, for political reasons to either secure or maintain a political advantage, or to save face politically, and any real defence outputs or fiscal cost considerations are irrelevant. Unfortunately Canada's procurement history has an example of this, namely the replacement of the Sea King helicopters, where politicians intervened after contracts were signed to cancel a needed replacement, and then the political successor gov't intervened again with the selection of the urgently needed replacement several years later following changes in gov't.

As I see it, the Gripen E has one or possibly two advantages over the F-35 in peacetime. These are lower CpfH and possibly, again only possibly since there are a number of possible variables which could impact the acquisition costs.

However, if the PM has made a decision based off what he thinks is best for him, then the actual positives and negatives of the respective fighters are irrelevant.



From my POV, with the entry of 5th Gen fighters into service, the kinematic performance even of the F-15EX would not be a suitable advantage for the RCAF. It can be made to work for the USAF, because the USAF is such a larger force and also has two types of 5th Gen fighter in service. One needs to remember that a major difference or focus for 5th Gen fighters vs. 4th Gen is in achieving and maintaining 'informational superiority'. This is not just about a 5th Gen fighter having better sensors, or a superior way of collecting, collating and then presenting SA data to the pilot, but also about reducing the information hostiles can collect about the fighter. Even if a 4th Gen fighter might be faster, or longer-ranged, or be able to out turn a 5th Gen fighter (and it is not certain that all the above is true), a 4th Gen fighter it still going to be more vulnerable to surface and air-launched missiles. With that in mind, selecting something like Gripen E for the RCAF would only really work if there is little or no chance of it ever getting fired upon by hostiles. This could be a problem even for missions over Canadian territory or home waters, if sent to intercept aircraft with a fighter escort, or if sent to take a look at suspicious maritime traffic.
My comment about the F-15EX only applied to Canadian operation in North America. Every thing else you mention I agree with. Any kind of fighter escort jets approaching North America is a threat that is many years off.
 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
My comment about the F-15EX only applied to Canadian operation in North America. Every thing else you mention I agree with. Any kind of fighter escort jets approaching North America is a threat that is many years off.
I would disagree on that for a couple of reasons. One being that while a response might come from RCAF fighters in North America, we really need to re-think what the potential scenarios are and in what time frame. From my POV, it does seem that many people live in a bit of a fantasy land, where the potential threat scenario is the same and unchanging. The reality is IMO a bit different.

Consider this; a CF-18 replacement selection made today would likely start to enter into RCAF service towards the end of the 2020's, and expected to serve until the mid-2050's or later. Russia and/or the PRC might not be able to manage fighter escorts along or into Canadian airspace now, but that could certainly change by the end of the decade. This is particularly true when one remembers that the PRC is working on developing a carrier force. One also needs to remember that there is the potential for threats to come not just from the air, but from the sea. A 4th Gen fighter flight investigating suspicious naval activities on the part of the PRC and/or Russia could quickly find itself in a bad way if one of the naval vessels was configured for area air defence.
 

STURM

Well-Known Member
Tod,

On the part of being fired upon by hostiles, would that only apply to scenarios in which RCAF Gripens were pitted against 5th gen platforms or would it also apply to the likes of Su-27s, Su-30s and other platforms of a common generation.

Also, wouldn't Gripen's limitations be somewhat mitagated if it was operating as part of a fully networked environment together with other more capable platforms. A lot would also depend on who has superior SA and who fires first would it not? Another point, if a F-22, F-35 and other LO 5th gen platforms were in an incoming AAM's no escape zone, it would all boil down to countermeasures to avoid being hit, would it not?
 
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ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Tod,

On the part of being fired upon by hostiles, would that only apply to scenarios in which RCAF Gripens were pitted against 5th gen platforms or would it also apply to the likes of Su-27s, Su-30s and other platforms of a common generation.

Also, wouldn't Gripen's limitations be somewhat mitagated if it was operating as part of a fully networked environment together with other more capable platforms. A lot would also depend on who has superior SA and who fires first would it not? Another point, if a F-22, F-35 and other LO 5th gen platforms were in an incoming AAM's no escape zone, it would all boil down to countermeasures to avoid being hit, would it not?
Yes, if any aircraft finds itself within the ‘basket’ of an incoming missile, hard maneuvering and counter-measure deployment are going to be the only things that might save it.

But the point of all that wizz-bang 5th Gen technology across SA, low observability and so on, is to better allow said aircraft to never put itself into that position in the first instance and the capability of the F-35 in that respect is far beyond any 4th Gen fighter…

Anybody advocating for Gripen over F-35 outside of a SAAB sales office or a political agenda, is not looking closely at the respective merits of the aircraft and most especially not at the programs that are delivering them (or barely, in the case of Gripen E).
 

STURM

Well-Known Member
Yes, if any aircraft finds itself within the ‘basket’ of an incoming missile, hard maneuvering and counter-measure deployment are going to be the only things that might save it.
I would think that no amount of hard maneuvering would work against the latest AAMs which are getting increasingly maneuverable.

is to better allow said aircraft to never put itself into that position in the first instance
The main advantage a 5th gen LO platform operating as part of a networked environment has over legacy opponents is SA; the ability to detect targets first and let off the first shot; often without the target knowing it had been fired upon until the seeker head of the AAM goes active during the terminal phase. In a WVR engagement I doubt that a 5th gen LO platform would enjoy any advantages over legacy but still very maneuverable platforms; then again I could be wrong. Then again; in a future peer on peer conflict; WVR engagements could well turn out to be a rare occurrence. With minor exceptions; the bulk of air to air engagements these past few decades have been in the BVR arena.
 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
Tod,

On the part of being fired upon by hostiles, would that only apply to scenarios in which RCAF Gripens were pitted against 5th gen platforms or would it also apply to the likes of Su-27s, Su-30s and other platforms of a common generation.

Also, wouldn't Gripen's limitations be somewhat mitagated if it was operating as part of a fully networked environment together with other more capable platforms. A lot would also depend on who has superior SA and who fires first would it not? Another point, if a F-22, F-35 and other LO 5th gen platforms were in an incoming AAM's no escape zone, it would all boil down to countermeasures to avoid being hit, would it not?
AD covered this to a degree, but I wanted to provide my thoughts on this. Consider these two examples; a Gripen E (or some other 4th or 4.5 Gen fighter, the specific design is not all that important) that has been engaged by a hostile missile (air-to-air or surface-to-air) vs. an F-35 that is being engaged by hostile missiles.

The Gripen E (or other legacy platform), lacking LO features is going to be easier for a hostile force to detect, track, target and engage. The seekers fitted to hostile missiles are going to be better able to detect and guide their missiles to a 4th or 4.5 gen target platform.

I do not claim to know what the accurate numbers are for this, but to illustrate the point imagine that the RCS of a Gripen E was 1m sq. while the F-35 RCS was ~0.1 m sq. (some figures I have seen claim a 1.5 - 2.0 m sq RCS for Gripen D, and a 0.001 m sq. RCS for F-35...) This would suggest that a radar capable of detecting the Gripen some 50 km away, might not be able to detect an F-35 until it was within ~5 km... Given the much smaller size of the seekers in missiles, vs. the radars fitted to fighters or SAM batteries, this could lead to situations where a pilot or gunner could visually see an F-35 with their Mk. I eyeball, but could not effectively engage the F-35 because the seekers in their ordnance still cannot 'see' the target. IIRC there have been some anecdotal reports of something like this happening at various DACT exercises in Alaska where pilots could see F-22's, but they could not get a weapons lock.

The impact of LO features and signature reduction would apply to both BVR and WVR engagements, if the features and reduction shrinks the distances at which weapons can be launched. Theoretically an AIM-120D AMRAAM has an operational range out to ~160 km, however if the missile's seeker is not able to detect, target and track a hostile LO aircraft until it gets within 10 km, then that BVR AMRAAM is now effectively a WVR missile. This becomes a problem if the LO aircraft is also fitted with BVR weaponry which is able to be used at BVR ranges. For WVR combat, a similar situation can still exist, because it might be the situation where WVR missiles must be launched from significantly closer than 'normal'. An AIM-9X might have a max range of ~35 km, but if the seeker only becomes effective vs. LO targets from within 5 km, then there is all that distance where LO targets could either engage and destroy or disengage from their targets, before the targets could respond.
 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
The main advantage a 5th gen LO platform operating as part of a networked environment has over legacy opponents is SA; the ability to detect targets first and let off the first shot; often without the target knowing it had been fired upon until the seeker head of the AAM goes active during the terminal phase. In a WVR engagement I doubt that a 5th gen LO platform would enjoy any advantages over legacy but still very maneuverable platforms; then again I could be wrong. Then again; in a future peer on peer conflict; WVR engagements could well turn out to be a rare occurrence. With minor exceptions; the bulk of air to air engagements these past few decades have been in the BVR arena.
One of the crucial points to remember about this though is that it is not 'just' the improvements in sensors, networked data, and data presentation which provides 5th Gen fighters improved SA over legacy fighters. The LO features of 5th Gen aircraft exist to degrade the abilities of opponents to detect the 5th Gen fighters. All other things being equal, a battlesystem featuring a 5th Gen fighter vs. a battlesystem with a 4th or 4.5 Gen fighter should have the system with the 5th Gen establish SA of their opponents first, and therefore likely able to make decisions regarding when, where, how and under what circumstances an air-to-air engagement will occur.

Those same LO features should also reduce the max effective ranges and NEZ for hostile weapons, because the features reduce the effectiveness of hostile sensors.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group

Mikeymike

Member
Reports that Canada will announce on Monday that they have chosen the F35 and will enter into negotiations with Lockheed Martin.

Have attached three news articles reporting as such, though likely they are all using the same "industry source" so not sure how reliable they are until the official announcement.

Reuters
Financial post
Third Source
 

J_Can

Member
The F-35 has been chosen as the RCAF replacement for the CF-18; colour me surprised. 10 wasted years, only to select the same aircraft and add 23 tails to the order. If true I wonder how long it will take to for the first of the aircraft to be delivered and put into service. As far as I am aware our membership in the F-35 program never reserved certain purchase slots or the alike. The globe and mail are also saying a government source as well within the article.

 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
In all likelihood this decision announcement, if correct, comes sooner than junior wanted due to criticism of Canada’s defence spending and dithering on defence procurement in general by NATO members earlier this month. I imagine the NDP would be on board with this.

Agree, ten years wasted along with stupid upgrades and used Hornets.
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
In all likelihood this decision announcement, if correct, comes sooner than junior wanted due to criticism of Canada’s defence spending and dithering on defence procurement in general by NATO members earlier this month. I imagine the NDP would be on board with this.

Agree, ten years wasted along with stupid upgrades and used Hornets.
Oh the F-35 haters are having a bad week, first Germany and now Canada looks to be doing an about face.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
Oh the F-35 haters are having a bad week, first Germany and now Canada looks to be doing an about face.
I think the about face occurred sometime ago with all the allied orders. Timing of the decision is interesting. Once junior got his deal with the NDP, he no longer had to worry about breaking yet another election promise. A F-35 decision with no deal would see an earlier election and the decision would be a Liberal/NDP vote splitter likely ensuring a Conservative government, something neither in the NDP or Liberals interest.
 

IHFP

New Member
I’m concerned that our government can’t get its act together, and get Canadian troops the equipment that they deserve in a reasonable period of time. This may have a secondary effect. Why would defence contractors feel allot of pressure to deliver products in a timely manner? Remember the “Sikorsky“ debacle? Cyclone helicopter is finally ready for the RCAF….sort of | Ottawa Citizen

Watch and see how long it takes to get “F-35” wheels on a Canadian tarmac, and don't hold your breath.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
I’m concerned that our government can’t get its act together, and get Canadian troops the equipment that they deserve in a reasonable period of time. This may have a secondary effect. Why would defence contractors feel allot of pressure to deliver products in a timely manner? Remember the “Sikorsky“ debacle? Cyclone helicopter is finally ready for the RCAF….sort of | Ottawa Citizen

Watch and see how long it takes to get “F-35” wheels on a Canadian tarmac, and don't hold your breath.
Huge difference between a paper design helicopter order of 28 units (and a orphan project as well) and a mega international venture is that has well over 600 units already and will likely see over 3000 jets produced. That being said, our procurement people aren’t exactly “state-of-the-art”.
 

FormerDirtDart

Well-Known Member
Fact is, Canada will be getting a much more mature product, including the maintenance & logistic support system by acquiring F-35s now then they would have already received if they had not left the program
but still, pretty funny
1648493099647.png
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
Fact is, Canada will be getting a much more mature product, including the maintenance & logistic support system by acquiring F-35s now then they would have already received if they had not left the program
but still, pretty funny
View attachment 49059
That’s true but given the geopolitical situation perhaps existing users will get priority on additional buys. The existing users are likely more inclined to actually make use of them
Until an order is actually sent, I will hold off on the celebration.
 

cdxbow

Well-Known Member
That’s true but given the geopolitical situation perhaps existing users will get priority on additional buys. The existing users are likely more inclined to actually make use of them
Until an order is actually sent, I will hold off on the celebration.
Go on, be happy John, you deserve it, moments of joy are rare enough in life.
 
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