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.

Canadian Company to Collaborate on New Amphibious Water Bomber

  Hynaero, a French company based in Bordeaux, announced this week that it has contracted Montreal-based Altitude Aerospace to assist with the design and engineering of their Fregate-F100 amphibious water bomber, a clean-sheet design that […]

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Ukraine Fighter Pilots Training in Canada

ITTC (International Tactical Training Centre) has been training a pair of Ukrainian Air Force instructors at their London, Ontario-based training centre since last October. The training is done in collaboration of the Ukraine’s Ivan Kozhedub […]

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Some of this Week’s Other Highlights in Brief

Bell Textron has appointed Chinook Helicopters of Abbotsford, British Columbia as an authorized dealership of its Canadian-manufactured Bell 505 Jet Ranger helicopter. “As a premier rotorcraft and fixed-wing training academy in British Columbia, Canada, Chinook […]

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Canada, Alexander Graham Bell and the Silver Dart

Today (Friday, February 23) marks the 115th anniversary of the first powered heavier-than-air flight in Canada. It took place near Baddeck Bay, Nova Scotia in 1909. The aircraft was the Silver Dart, whose project leader […]

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Some of this Week’s Other Highlights in Brief

Federal defence minister Bill Blair announced on Monday (Feb. 19) that the government will donate over 800 SkyRanger R70 drones to Ukraine to use in its defence against Russian aggression, now in its third year. […]

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ATC Union Head Calls for Audit Report Release

The president of the Canadian Air Traffic Controllers Association (CATCA) is calling for the release of an audit report issued by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) that reportedly rated Canada’s oversight of aviation safety […]

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TSB Urges Helicopter Safety Measures Be Implemented

In conjunction with the release of an accident investigation report on the fatal crash in 2021 of an Airbus AS350 helicopter in Nunavut, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) issued four recommendations to Transport Canada (TC) […]

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Some of this Week’s Other Highlights in Brief

Mirabel, Quebec-based airline Nolinor has announced that it is reintroducing a Boeing 737-200 to its operating fleet in response to demand in Canada’s northern regions for large aircraft capable of landing on gravel runways. “The […]

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France Honours Canadian D-Day Pilot

A former RCAF pilot who flew Lancaster bombers during the Second World War was presented with the insignia of the Chevalier (Knight) of the Legion of Honour on Wednesday (Feb. 7) by France’s ambassador to […]

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De Havilland Expands Manufacturing Capacity

De Havilland Canada (DHC) announced on Thursday (Feb. 8) that it has acquired the Calgary-based aircraft parts manufacturing assets and ongoing business of Field Aviation Company Inc. This comes on the heels of DHC’s 2023 […]

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