Wednesday, January 26, 2011

F-35 extensioneering: Scandal, disaster, mistake; can we use those terms yet?

This has disaster written all over it.

For the government, sticking with the project likely means having to explain to the public and the Air Force in 2016 why the latter must find a way of extending the operational life of the CF-18 into the 2020s. When the Air Force responds by grounding the fleet of CF-18s because they are no long safe to fly, then the government of the day will have to explain to the public why Canada is like New Zealand, and doesn't really need a combat air force anyway.

For the Air Force, selecting the F-35 on whatever paper rationale the sky-nerds at NGFC came up with was an error and they might as well have suggested that the government order X-wings.  At some point soon a competent leader in the Air Staff really should call bullshit and tell the government that whatever it looks like on paper, the F-35 is a fantasy and likely to remain so for many years, thus an alternative ought to be procured.

5 comments:

double nickel said...

Steve will never let the so called "facts" get in the way of "supporting the troops".

A.V. said...

I suspect that the main reason we didn't look for a feasible alternative was the same as the main reason we didn't order X-wings: our American friends made it clear to us what our best "option" was, and we swallowed it.

I have no real evidence for this, but judging from the content of WikiLeaks cables from areas substantially farther from the centre of American influence than us (e.g. the Netherlands), I think it was made quite clear to us that the F-35 was the proper choice.

Scanner said...

I bet the Chinese get their stealth fighter into their squadrons before the F35 starts to ship, if it ever does. Go with the T50, join India in building it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukhoi_PAK_FA

Demeur said...

Oh the boys down here on Madison Ave would have you believe that the Ruskies are just one step away from slipping back into communism. Got to protect those oil sands from the Red horde you know.
No, this was just a ploy to keep the military industrial complex cranking. Iraq and Afghanistan wars won't last forever you know.

Sixth Estate said...

"Got to protect those oil sands from the Red horde you know."

But the F-35 is actually less capable of intercepting Russian bombers than the CF-18 is. You'd think they would come up with something more plausible.