Fighter Replacement: What Now?

F-35 mock-up in Canadian livery.
F-35 mock-up in Canadian livery.

Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau is showing every sign of following through on his pledge to cancel Canada’s participation in the F-35 program and that will likely mean a three-way race for a less expensive and less capable aircraft to replace the CF-18.

The bonus is that the RCAF will probably end up with more airplanes.

Ruling out the F-35 (there may not be a legal way to keep it out of the bidding, however) effectively leaves the F/A-18 Super Hornet, Dassault’s Rafale and the Eurofighter as contenders for the contract. However, without the F-35 in the mix, Saab might rethink entering the race with its updated Gripen NG.

None of those options has the combination of stealth, surveillance and weapons capabilities that the F-35 and some other fifth generation designs from Russia and China have but Trudeau has said he doesn’t think Canada needs a fifth generation fighter because Canada won’t need to attack anything.

As if to punctuate that premise, one of Trudeau’s first acts after the election was to tell U.S. President Barack Obama that Canada will cease participation in the bombing campaign against ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria. That likely means the Aurora long-range patrol missions will also be halted.

There was no mention of the need to replace fixed wing search and rescue aircraft during the election but that will also be on the new PM’s plate.

Give Hope Wings Ready To Launch

On  May 27, YVR marked this year’s Give Hope Wings expedition at co-host Million Air’s hangar on YVR’s south side. Ceremonies included a cedar brushing of the three GHW participating aircraft which were on hand […]

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Royal Aviation Museum Now Open

One of Canada’s most important collections of vintage aircraft has opened its state-of-the-art exhibition space in Winnipeg and the reviews are universally excellent. The Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada was forced to move out […]

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Family Search Finds Missing Plane After Snow Goes

A follow-up search funded by members of a missing pilot’s family found the wreck of his Piper Comanche with his and the body of his friend inside. The wreckage was spotted May 21 about 60 […]

Posted in News | Leave a comment

U.S. Group Steps Into Canadian ADS-B Debate

U.S. pilots are starting to realize that Canada will be off limits to most of them when the space-based ADS-B equipage mandate comes into full effect as early as 2026 and their national organization is […]

Posted in News | Leave a comment

CC-295 Deployment Delayed To 2025-26

The CC-295 won’t be flying search and rescue missions until at least 2025 the RCAF has confirmed. The Air Force issued a statement earlier this month saying getting the new platform up and running is […]

Posted in News | Leave a comment

RCAF Gets First King Air Surveillance Plane This Year

The RCAF has reached a final deal with the U.S. and Textron to buy three King Air 350ER surveillance aircraft for a total price of $247 million. The aircraft will be equipped with a suite […]

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Stocky Edwards Remembered

Relatives, friends, colleagues and military representatives gathered in Courtenay, B.C. on Friday to bid Godspeed to James “Stocky” Edwards, a Second World War fighter ace whose contributions to aviation, his community and his family continued […]

Posted in News | Leave a comment

George Miller’s Final Flight A Gift

A Canadian aviation legend hung up his headset on a high note with a cross-country flight from B.C. to New Brunswick where he donated his well-known 1947 Ryan Navion to a museum. George Miller, 86, […]

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Crash Pilot Accused of Running Illegal Charters

The pilot of a Piper Cherokee 140 that crashed in Ontario in late April, killing all four onboard, had been reported to Transport Canada for allegedly operating an illegal charter service. Abhinav Handa died along […]

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Airport Lineups For Unpaid Overtime For Flight Crews

Lineups at major airports are testing the patience of flight crews as they endure hours of what is effectively unpaid overtime. Although security delays and the effect on passengers have dominated the news, Customs bottlenecks […]

Posted in News | Leave a comment

You can see a more complete list of our past Front Page Editorials.  Press Here to take a look.

print