ThePointblank
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Canadian AG Report On Canadian Fighter Jet Force

Tue Nov 20, 2018 11:41 pm

The Auditor General's report on the Canadian fighter jet force and procurement plan just dropped today:

The brief version of the report:
http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/Engli ... 43225.html

The full version of the report:
http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/Engli ... .html#hd4a

And it isn't kind to the government; it is a blistering report damning the government about national security, and even long-term safety and viability.

Basically the 'capability gap' argument for first buying the Super Hornets then buying used Hornets was a complete non-starter and the government knew it; the RCAF doesn't have the personnel to fly and maintain the existing fleet, let alone new additions. Per the report, as of April 2018, 22% of technician positions in CF-18 squadrons were vacant (8%) or were filled by technicians not yet fully qualified to do maintenance (14%).

This has had a negative impact on flying hours; in the 2017–18 fiscal year, 28% of pilots flew fewer than the minimum 140 hours required.

On the subject of pilots, the RCAF is bleeding fighter jet pilots; according to National Defence, between April 2016 and March 2018, the RCAF lost 40 trained fighter pilots and produced only 30 new ones. Since then, an additional 17 fighter pilots left or stated their intention to leave.

And on the abortive Super Hornet purchase, the AG notes that Super Hornet would initially decrease, not increase, the daily number of aircraft available because technicians and pilots would have to be pulled away from the CF-18s to train on the new aircraft.

Even the Hornet purchase from Australia gets rolled over the coals; per the report, "the purchase will not fix the fundamental weaknesses with the fleet: the aircraft’s declining combat capability and the shortage of personnel. The Australian F/A-18s will need modifications and upgrades to allow them to fly until 2032. These modifications will bring the F/A-18s to the same level as the CF-18s but will not improve the CF-18’s combat capability. In addition, National Defence still does not have enough technicians to maintain and pilots to fly the aircraft."

Furthermore, there is no plan in place to keep the Hornet fleet viable to 2032; the last major refurbishment of the jets happened in 2008, and Department of National Defence planners have done little since because they had been expecting new planes by 2020. Because the fighters are becoming increasingly out of date, the CF-18 will become more vulnerable as threats advance, and become less combat effective, limiting Canada's contribution to NORAD and NATO operations.

Additionally, the existing fleet may not survive to 2032 based upon the fatigue limits; This increase will require National Defence to periodically monitor fatigue on CF-18s on the basis of usage, to replace obsolete components, and to conduct more hours of maintenance for each aircraft.
 
johns624
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Re: Canadian AG Report On Canadian Fighter Jet Force

Wed Nov 21, 2018 1:29 am

You can only kick the can down the road for so long...
It appears they will go with the T26 to replace the Halifax-class, but I'll bet big money that they never get all 15 that they're talking about. There's too many big dollar projects coming due at once.
 
ExMilitaryEng
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Re: Canadian AG Report On Canadian Fighter Jet Force

Wed Nov 21, 2018 7:51 pm

Great post PointBlank

Indeed, the critical lack of personnel to fly AND maintain the existing fleet really shed a light in the utter stupidity / total irresponsibility of the initial plan to acquire 24 'interim" new Super Hornets. (HUGE thanks to Boeing for its timely hypocrite dumping complaint; it allowed the Libs to politically escape that useless procurement).

The procurement of used Aussie legacy Hornets might also be useless (due to that same lack of pilots and maintainers), but hey, that one is definitely more affordable (and most of the money will be spent locally@L3 MAS).

Now, that 'capability gap' (to sustain both NORAD&NATO) seems to actually exist thought - caused by that same lack of pilots and maintainers as well described in the OAG report. What should we do about it? Train more people on Legacy Hornets - which we will replace in a few years? Maybe offering $$$ bonuses to retain longer our fully trained personnel?

How about we (in the interim) concentrate strictly with our NORAD obligations (and switch our contribution to NATO with more ground troops)?

If our capacity further degrade, next we can ask for more "help" from AK & WA based aircrafts - for the west coast coverage...
Last edited by ExMilitaryEng on Wed Nov 21, 2018 8:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
 
LMP737
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Re: Canadian AG Report On Canadian Fighter Jet Force

Wed Nov 21, 2018 7:59 pm

ThePointblank wrote:
And on the abortive Super Hornet purchase, the AG notes that Super Hornet would initially decrease, not increase, the daily number of aircraft available because technicians and pilots would have to be pulled away from the CF-18s to train on the new aircraft.

.


As would the purchase of any other aircraft would do. In fact training for the Super Hornet would be shorter due tot eh commonality with the classic Hornet.
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
ExMilitaryEng
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Re: Canadian AG Report On Canadian Fighter Jet Force

Wed Nov 21, 2018 8:06 pm

LMP737 wrote:
As would the purchase of any other aircraft would do. In fact training for the Super Hornet would be shorter due tot eh commonality with the classic Hornet.

You are right, any "interim" procurements would cause an additional training/conversion burden.

Except the "interim" Super Hornet option was many $ Billion more expensive, and would have required an additional maintenance/logistical/supply infrastructure.
 
Ozair
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Re: Canadian AG Report On Canadian Fighter Jet Force

Wed Nov 21, 2018 8:14 pm

LMP737 wrote:
ThePointblank wrote:
And on the abortive Super Hornet purchase, the AG notes that Super Hornet would initially decrease, not increase, the daily number of aircraft available because technicians and pilots would have to be pulled away from the CF-18s to train on the new aircraft.

.


As would the purchase of any other aircraft would do. In fact training for the Super Hornet would be shorter due tot eh commonality with the classic Hornet.

Yes in the context of a short term view but no in the long run. Acquiring 24 SH would have created a sub fleet of specialized aircrew, maintainers etc that would be qualified and work on the SH. The issue is that the SH fleet doesn’t get any bigger and the Canadians still have to fly and maintain classic Hornets so overall the fleet readiness reduces.

Conversely, if you look at other Air Forces that convert over to a whole new type, which is what Canada will do if or when they actually select something, the Air Forces often suspend or reduce commitments except where necessary and wholesale train the aircrew and maintainer base. Denmark is an example of this,

For years, Denmark’s F-16 fighter jet fleet has been a common sight for deployments and operations abroad. But as it is replaced by the F-35 in the next decade, fiscal and personnel realities mean that Copenhagen will have to hit pause on international operations for its fighters.



The current plan is for that pause to last from 2022-2024, but that may slip six months to the right because of a recent change in basing for the F-35s, Rex said.

While some training exercises will be allowed, missions such as NATO’s air-policing mission will be without a Danish presence for that time period.

Part of Denmark’s challenge is demographic. With no mandatory retirement in its military and limited resources, the Royal Danish Air Force relies on a largely stagnant workforce. By the time the F-35 is online, the average pilot age will be 45, with maintainers somewhat older.

But if pilots are being taken off the F-16 and retrained on the F-35, it means limited pilots available to fly those older jets ― hence, part of the rationale for the drawback from international operations.

https://www.defensenews.com/digital-sho ... perations/
 
ThePointblank
Topic Author
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Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:39 pm

Re: Canadian AG Report On Canadian Fighter Jet Force

Wed Nov 21, 2018 10:29 pm

ExMilitaryEng wrote:
Great post PointBlank

Indeed, the critical lack of personnel to fly AND maintain the existing fleet really shed a light in the utter stupidity / total irresponsibility of the initial plan to acquire 24 'interim" new Super Hornets. (HUGE thanks to Boeing for its timely hypocrite dumping complaint; it allowed the Libs to politically escape that useless procurement).

The procurement of used Aussie legacy Hornets might also be useless (due to that same lack of pilots and maintainers), but hey, that one is definitely more affordable (and most of the money will be spent locally@L3 MAS).

Now, that 'capability gap' (to sustain both NORAD&NATO) seems to actually exist thought - caused by that same lack of pilots and maintainers as well described in the OAG report. What should we do about it? Train more people on Legacy Hornets - which we will replace in a few years? Maybe offering $$$ bonuses to retain longer our fully trained personnel?

How about we (in the interim) concentrate strictly with our NORAD obligations (and switch our contribution to NATO with more ground troops)?

If our capacity further degrade, next we can ask for more "help" from AK & WA based aircrafts - for the west coast coverage...

One of the biggest issues is quality of life that is driving people out of the Air Force.

For example, Cold Lake is in the middle of nowhere. Great for reducing impact on people. Bad if you actually have to live there with your family, or have any sort of social life outside of the military. There's no night life in Cold Lake, and Cold Lake is much too far away from a major population centre to drive to if you wanted to go out.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Canadian AG Report On Canadian Fighter Jet Force

Thu Nov 22, 2018 12:56 am

We forget the main reason this started. People who were uneducated regarding aviation were incorrectly reporting about the F-35 during its early development. They were sensationalizing anything negative even though it was par for the course. The now PM of Canada used this as ammunition to get elected.

The anti-f35 should be held accountable.
 
ExMilitaryEng
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Re: Canadian AG Report On Canadian Fighter Jet Force

Thu Nov 22, 2018 2:25 pm

RJMAZ wrote:
We forget the main reason this started. People who were uneducated regarding aviation were incorrectly reporting about the F-35 during its early development. They were sensationalizing anything negative even though it was par for the course. The now PM of Canada used this as ammunition to get elected. The anti-f35 should be held accountable.

You definitely have a good recollection of this saga. I would go even further; any politician (liberals, conservatives, NDP) caught lying should also be held accountable.

Now, I guess we we're been lucky we did not buy the F35 too early in the program - as it was not quite mature yet. We're now benefiting with a unit price that keeps decreasing, and bugs that get sorted out ...
 
ThePointblank
Topic Author
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Re: Canadian AG Report On Canadian Fighter Jet Force

Fri Nov 23, 2018 6:12 am

Matthew Fisher at CGAI dropped this article on how the pilot shortage is affecting operations in Romania. He interviewed and quotes the squadron commander who's in charge of the Romanian deployment:

https://www.cgai.ca/rcafs_pilot_shortag ... in_romania
 
YIMBY
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Re: Canadian AG Report On Canadian Fighter Jet Force

Fri Nov 23, 2018 6:58 am

Other than political pressures, Canada is one of the few countries that can afford an inferior air force.

The only country that can easily attack Canada is the US and Canada has no chance to defend. For any other country Canada is so far that they cannot send any super duper fighters there, only long distance bombers that can be shot down by almost any advanced trainer with a gun. Few countries do have motives to invade Canada, other than to give pressure against the US, and no case the US would stand still if that happens.

Otherwise it seems to be rather an issue of staffing than purchase decision and no other deal would improve that.
 
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keesje
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Re: Canadian AG Report On Canadian Fighter Jet Force

Fri Nov 23, 2018 11:13 am

It seems there are new programs starting up next to the F35.

Two engined ones with participation opportunity at this stage.

Canada qualifies as a reliable, value adding partner for some I guess

The America First movement is gaining traction, maybe they have a French connection.

Image
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
texl1649
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Re: Canadian AG Report On Canadian Fighter Jet Force

Fri Nov 23, 2018 1:13 pm

No new Franco German planes are going to be economical or in service to replace the cf18 fleet by 2032, that is for sure. The F-35 is probably the only platform that would make logical sense at this point (as a near term and long term solution), but it would be a nonstarter of course for Justin.

Rafael’s or Saab would be my guess as to an affordable non-American off the shelf option if Canada decides to be somewhat pragmatic. Is there a possibility they run a real competition in the next year or two?
 
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keesje
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Re: Canadian AG Report On Canadian Fighter Jet Force

Fri Nov 23, 2018 4:50 pm

texl1649 wrote:
No new Franco German planes are going to be economical or in service to replace the cf18 fleet by 2032, that is for sure. The F-35 is probably the only platform that would make logical sense at this point (as a near term and long term solution), but it would be a nonstarter of course for Justin.

Rafael’s or Saab would be my guess as to an affordable non-American off the shelf option if Canada decides to be somewhat pragmatic. Is there a possibility they run a real competition in the next year or two?


Yes, as part of the bigger Stealth development program, phase in 40 combat proven Rafales, as interim solution while updating, keeping operational F18's for specific roles, while breaking up others for spares.

Image
https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/f-35-s-french-rival-pitches-canadianized-fighter-jet-1.2577234

Not everybody is convinced a single engined aircraft like Grippen or F35 is the best choice for Canada operations.
https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/06/09/singleengine_f35_jet_risky_choice_for_canadas_air_force_report_warns.html

Image
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
texl1649
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Re: Canadian AG Report On Canadian Fighter Jet Force

Fri Nov 23, 2018 8:27 pm

Heh, I’d hardly consider buying 40 Rafael’s an ‘interim’ solution. They’re missing NORAD goals as is. I don’t see the point in reading in politics to every acquisition, but I do consider the Rafael a very good option for Canada. We shall see. If an interim solution were needed (or, rather, sought), the Gripens are much cheaper on all of the key data points.
 
smithbs
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Re: Canadian AG Report On Canadian Fighter Jet Force

Sat Nov 24, 2018 12:04 am

keesje wrote:
texl1649 wrote:
No new Franco German planes are going to be economical or in service to replace the cf18 fleet by 2032, that is for sure. The F-35 is probably the only platform that would make logical sense at this point (as a near term and long term solution), but it would be a nonstarter of course for Justin.

Rafael’s or Saab would be my guess as to an affordable non-American off the shelf option if Canada decides to be somewhat pragmatic. Is there a possibility they run a real competition in the next year or two?


Yes, as part of the bigger Stealth development program, phase in 40 combat proven Rafales, as interim solution while updating, keeping operational F18's for specific roles, while breaking up others for spares.


I didn't think that Rafale was known to be cheap nor combat proven, relatively speaking (vs, say, F-18, F-16, F-15, etc)? In any case, it would make for another sub-fleet with a new set of air and ground crews, while the service can't staff its current single-type fleet. I think it's obvious that the RCAF is going to need a whole type swap-out at some point, while their core issue is a waffling government and inferior staffing. So maybe I would modify your proposal to 80-100 Rafales and ditch the F-18s ASAP to concentrate manpower on the new fleet. I personally would like to see Gripen in the competition.

YIMBY wrote:
Other than political pressures, Canada is one of the few countries that can afford an inferior air force.

The only country that can easily attack Canada is the US and Canada has no chance to defend. For any other country Canada is so far that they cannot send any super duper fighters there, only long distance bombers that can be shot down by almost any advanced trainer with a gun. Few countries do have motives to invade Canada, other than to give pressure against the US, and no case the US would stand still if that happens.

Otherwise it seems to be rather an issue of staffing than purchase decision and no other deal would improve that.


I don't entirely agree, but there is a grain of truth here. Chances are, any major expeditionary action taken by the RCAF would be on the coat tails of the USAF. In that case, tell USAF to kick open the door with their cool gadgets and RCAF would follow in conventionally and maybe in more of a CAS type role, sticking close with the ground troops.

ThePointblank wrote:
One of the biggest issues is quality of life that is driving people out of the Air Force.

For example, Cold Lake is in the middle of nowhere. Great for reducing impact on people. Bad if you actually have to live there with your family, or have any sort of social life outside of the military. There's no night life in Cold Lake, and Cold Lake is much too far away from a major population centre to drive to if you wanted to go out.


I would encourage RCAF to move toward some urban centers to improve recruiting, retention and politicking. It would be a double-hit on the budget (would have to increase to improve retention, and then increase again to be competitive in the labor market), but at least you'd have a chance at meeting staffing goals. Also, it would improve RCAF visibility to the public, which might be reflected in public budgets. There are reasons to keep a military force off in the woods and out of the public eye, but then they wonder why recruitment and budget dry up......
 
Ozair
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Re: Canadian AG Report On Canadian Fighter Jet Force

Sat Nov 24, 2018 12:21 am

texl1649 wrote:
The F-35 is probably the only platform that would make logical sense at this point (as a near term and long term solution), but it would be a nonstarter of course for Justin.

Rafael’s or Saab would be my guess as to an affordable non-American off the shelf option if Canada decides to be somewhat pragmatic. Is there a possibility they run a real competition in the next year or two?


keesje wrote:

Yes, as part of the bigger Stealth development program, phase in 40 combat proven Rafales, as interim solution while updating, keeping operational F18's for specific roles, while breaking up others for spares.


smithbs wrote:
I didn't think that Rafale was known to be cheap nor combat proven, relatively speaking (vs, say, F-18, F-16, F-15, etc)? In any case, it would make for another sub-fleet with a new set of air and ground crews, while the service can't staff its current single-type fleet. I think it's obvious that the RCAF is going to need a whole type swap-out at some point, while their core issue is a waffling government and inferior staffing. So maybe I would modify your proposal to 80-100 Rafales and ditch the F-18s ASAP to concentrate manpower on the new fleet. I personally would like to see Gripen in the competition.


Guys, there is already a competition running and Dassault has already pulled out because they can't meet the requirements. The Rafale operated by Canada is literally never going to happen. If you want to talk about the Canadian Fighter Competition I suggest you put your comments in that thread, viewtopic.php?f=10&t=1380973 where you can read the requirements and OEMs who are bidding for the contract.

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