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The RCAF's Next Generation Fighter (CF-188 Replacement)

MarkOttawa

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And find a way to carry a whole lot more missiles internally to be able to have real combat NORAD air intercept capability in stealth mode--if stealth is necessary for that mission for now (but what about fighter-escorted Russkie bombers, maybe Su-57 eventually?).

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Colin Parkinson

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Particularly with modern stand off weapons, you need to intercept them in the high arctic to prevent them from getting into weapons range.
 

Good2Golf

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MarkOttawa said:
And find a way to carry a whole lot more missiles internally to be able to have real combat NORAD air intercept capability in stealth mode--if stealth is necessary for that mission for now (but what about fighter-escorted Russkie bombers, maybe Su-57 eventually?).

Mark
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“Real” capability?  I didn’t know four (4) AIM-120 AMRAAMs was not a real capability.  Anyway, technology exists to increase the AIM-120 load out to six (6): https://www.google.ca/amp/s/www.popularmechanics.com/military/aviation/amp27347465/f-35-missile-increase/

This compares to zero (0) stealthy-stowed missiles on any other contender...mathematically, this makes the F-35 ‘infinitely’ better. ;)

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a_majoor

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There does not seem to be any reason that the stealthy "pod" featured on the Advanced Super Hornet concept aircraft (which allows stealth carriage of either external fuel or weapons) could not be adapted for the F-35, answering most objections.
 

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Kirkhill

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Might could be a bit difficult to launch G2G's AMRAAMs from the internal weapons bay with that thing attached. 

But I'm no expert.  ;D
 

a_majoor

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Chris Pook said:
Might could be a bit difficult to launch G2G's AMRAAMs from the internal weapons bay with that thing attached. 

But I'm no expert.  ;D

The weapons in the pod would be expended first, then the pod dropped to reveal the internal bay. This way you always fly with the wings in a "clean" configuration, and don't excessively increase the RCS by carrying underwing stores.
 

MarkOttawa

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The almost never-ending farce plays on. This FUBAR procurement (both big parties) is making Canada an international joke:

Exclusive: Airbus, Boeing indicate they may pull out of Canada fighter jet race - sources

Airbus SE and Boeing Co may pull out of a bidding process to supply Canada with new fighter jets because they say the contest is unfairly tilted toward Lockheed Martin Corp, two sources with direct knowledge of the situation said on Monday [July 8].

The three companies competing with Lockheed Martin’s F-35 jet have already complained about the way the contest is being run, and expressed concern some of the specifications clearly favor the U.S. firm, industry sources have said in recent weeks.

Next week the government is due to release the so-called request for proposals - the final list of requirements - for the 88 new planes it wants to buy. The contract is worth between C$15 billion ($11.5 billion) and C$19 billion and the planes are due to be delivered between 2025 and the early 2030s.

Boeing and Airbus have now formally written to Ottawa expressing concerns about the current requirements, said two sources familiar with the matter who declined to be identified given the sensitivity of the situation. The fourth bidder is Sweden’s Saab AB.

Pat Finn, the defense ministry’s top official in charge of procurement, confirmed one of the four companies had sent a formal letter but gave no details. The final request for proposals is due out on July 17 and modifications are still being considered, he said.

“We continue to engage all four of them,” he said in a telephone interview. “We have had some comments (such as) ‘If changes are not made in such a place then we would frankly consider possibly not bidding.’”

“We are looking at those very seriously. I can’t say that we will make every change, but as far as we know we continue to have four bidders in the race.”

Airbus declined to comment. Boeing did not respond to a request for comment.

Canada has been trying unsuccessfully for almost a decade to buy replacements for its aging F-18 fighters. In May, Ottawa changed the rules to allow Lockheed Martin to submit a bid, prompting Boeing to take the unusual step of announcing publicly it was surprised.

“Anyone who is not Lockheed Martin has expressed a very strong view,” said one of the sources. “We have been pretty clear with the government that this is not a request for proposals that lends to our participation.”

At least one firm has expressed unhappiness that the requirements emphasize the ability to carry out first strikes on targets abroad, a strength of the F-35, said the sources.

The government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insists the competition is not rigged. Finn said the defense ministry also had made changes to the requirements at the request of Boeing, Airbus and Saab.

Canada is part of the international consortium that developed the F-35. The former Conservative administration said in 2010 it would buy 65 of the jets but later scrapped the decision, triggering years of delays.

Trudeau came to power in 2015 vowing not to buy the F-35 on the grounds that it was too costly, but Ottawa has since softened its line.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-canada-fighterjets-exclusive/exclusive-airbus-boeing-indicate-they-may-pull-out-of-canada-fighter-jet-race-sources-idUSKCN1U32EX

Mark
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BurmaShave

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Boeing can take their Congressman tricker and kick rocks IMO. Between the Bombardier rubbish, the 737 Max crashes, and the persistent QC issues, they're not in my good books.

The requirements are stilted in favour of the F-35 for sure...because it's a competition to select the best aircraft. If we water it down with long term cost, Canadian content, or industry benefits (which we will and maybe even should), those odds will change.
 

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MarkOttawa said:
Airbus SE and Boeing Co may pull out of a bidding process to supply Canada with new fighter jets because they say the contest is unfairly tilted toward Lockheed Martin Corp...
Yet when PMJT was elected on the promise that the F-35 would simply be disallowed from any competition, I didn't hear them saying that that  was in any way unfair. 
Cry me a river.  :'(


However, in May the Macdonald-Laurier Institute published an interesting assessment from Richard Shimooka, "Catastrophe:  Assessing the Damage from Canada’s Fighter Replacement Fiasco."
...Ottawa’s performance on this file mirrors the SNC-Lavalin Scandal and the Mark Norman Affair.  “At their heart, these two incidents represent attempts by the Liberal government to circumvent established processes to meet their partisan interests,” Shimooka explains. “This description is just as apt for the fighter program.”

“During the 2015 election campaign, the Liberal Party promised not to buy the F-35 jets, but instead to use a competition to identify and subsequently purchase a lower-cost competitor… this decision proved to be impossible, unethical, and potentially illegal.”

From billions of dollars being wasted on a procurement process to fix a contrived capability gap to potentially threatening Canada’s defence relationship with the US, the report finds that political interests have consistently been put above Canada’s defence needs.

The press release that covers the report's key issues is here.

The full report is here.
 

Colin Parkinson

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BurmaShave said:
Boeing can take their Congressman tricker and kick rocks IMO. Between the Bombardier rubbish, the 737 Max crashes, and the persistent QC issues, they're not in my good books.

The requirements are stilted in favour of the F-35 for sure...because it's a competition to select the best aircraft. If we water it down with long term cost, Canadian content, or industry benefits (which we will and maybe even should), those odds will change.

Boeing would be better off arguing to have the 30% FMS cost done away with so it can compete with the F-35 on a more level playing field.
 

MarkOttawa

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How much for 88 planes at Cold Lake and Bagotville? Big security requirements upgrade?

Belgium Spending €275 Million On F-35 Infrastructure

Belgium has begun tendering for new infrastructure worth up to €275 million ($308 million) to support its new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter fleet.

Because Brussels wants to base its 34 F-35As across two air bases, Florennes and Kleine Brogel, two sets of facilities will be required. This will include facilities for operational planning, mission preparation and training infrastructure, each with four flight simulators and hangarage for maintenance facilities for six aircraft. The costs also cover the building of new flight lines and 16 covered aircraft shelters. Also stemming from these funds is a so-called quick reaction alert facility to support the national air policing mission operating on a 24 hr.-a-day, 365-day-a-year basis.

The tender issued on July 3 is separate from the wider F-35 Foreign Military Sale which Brussels agreed to last October. The documents also provide insight into the security requirements demanded by the U.S. Department of Defense for nations operating the fifth-generation aircraft, calling for the new facilities to be enclosed and equipped with intrusion detection and alarms [emphasis added]. Belgian ministers have already approved plans to recruit additional personnel to guard the aircraft. On several occasions, protesters have broken into the Kleine Brogel base over the housing of U.S. dual-key nuclear weapons there.

The new F-35 facilities must be approved and certified to U.S. government standards, the tender documents say, and the selected company or contractors will have to hold national security clearances and be vetted by the U.S. State Department [emphasis added].

Florennes will be the first of the two airbases to receive the F-35, with construction work starting in the second quarter of 2022, while work at Kleine Brogel will begin in the first quarter of 2024.

This development is in line with the delivery profile for Belgium’s aircraft. The first  F-35will be based in the U.S. from 2023 to support training, likely at Luke AFB, Arizona, similar to the activities of other F-35 operators. Four or five F-35s will be delivered in 2023, officials say, and the aircraft will arrive in batches of four from 2024-2028 and in 2030. A batch of five aircraft will be delivered in 2029. The first F-35 will not be based in Belgium until 2025.
https://aviationweek.com/defense/belgium-spending-275-million-f-35-infrastructure

Mark
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Hamish Seggie said:
🤦‍♂️ It’s downright embarrassing.

In this case, it’s embarrassing that Boeing and Airbus are whining that they can’t compete with reasonable requirements like “conducting bombing runs in contested airspace”. They know their jets are inferior and have never beat out the F35 in any competition.
 

Iron 1

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Quirky said:
In this case, it’s embarrassing that Boeing and Airbus are whining that they can’t compete with reasonable requirements like “conducting bombing runs in contested airspace”. They know their jets are inferior and have never beat out the F35 in any competition.
Truth...
 

dimsum

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Long-ish article about the requirements of the future fighter.

The Rubik’s Cube of fighter procurement
Posted on July 17, 2019 by Alan Stephenson
   
This article originally appeared in the 2019 edition of RCAF Today magazine.

Purchasing a fleet of fighter aircraft is a complex process with many variables and the Canadian government has a duty to ensure the billions of procurement dollars are properly spent. The interplay between the four dimensions involved in military procurement — military, technological, economic, and political — defies simple analysis.

Rest at link

https://www.skiesmag.com/features/the-rubiks-cube-of-fighter-procurement/
 

MarkOttawa

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Gov't actually officially starting competition before election:

Feds expected to announce official request for CF-18 replacement jets today

The federal government is expected to announce today the official request for proposals for Canada's 88 new fighter jets to replace the aging CF-18 fleet.

The requests for proposals are set to be sent to the four suppliers in the running for the $19-billion competition—Saab, Airbus, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin— later this afternoon.

Replacing the military's existing jets—purchased in the '80s—has been a work in progress for nearly a decade, with the previous Conservative government announcing in 2010 that it had selected the Lockheed Martin F-35s for a multi-billion dollar sole-source deal. Under that plan new jets were set to be delivered by 2016 but the deal erupted in political controversy over accusations the Tories misled Parliament about the true cost of the planes.

Then, during the 2015 federal election campaign, Justin Trudeau vowed that if the Liberals formed government they would not purchase the F-35s and would instead look for a cheaper option. Though just months later Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan signalled that the F-35 would not be excluded from the "open" fighter replacement competition.

The Liberals launched the procurement process to replace the fleet in 2017, with the planned timeline of having a contract awarded in 2022, with the first aircrafts delivered in 2025.

The Liberals first said they'd be purchasing 18 Boeing Super Hornets in the interim, before backing out of that agreement amid tensions between the U.S. aerospace giant and Canadian company Bombardier. In November 2018 the government settled on procuring 18 used F-18s and up to seven additional non-flyable aircrafts for parts and training, from Australia.

The initial draft tender for these 88 new jets was issued in October 2018 and suppliers provided the federal Liberals with their recommendations for the formal invitation to these major aerospace manufacturers to submit their proposals.

Meanwhile, Canada continues to pay what has amounted to more than $500 million to remain a partner in the F-35 development program over the last 20 years.

With files from CTV News' Michel Boyer and The Canadian Press
https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/feds-expected-to-announce-official-request-for-cf-18-replacement-jets-today-1.4519686

Mark
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This from the info-machine
… Following extensive engagement with industry and eligible suppliers over the past 18 months, the formal Request for Proposals has now been released to eligible suppliers.

The following suppliers have until spring 2020 to submit initial proposals to Canada:
•Sweden—SAAB AB (publ)—Aeronautics
•United Kingdom and Northern Ireland—Airbus Defense and Space GmbH (with MBDA UK Limited, L3 Technologies MAS and CAE Canada)
•United States—Lockheed Martin Corporation (Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company) (with Pratt and Whitney)
•United States—The Boeing Company (with Peraton Canada Corp., CAE Inc., L3 Technologies MAS Inc., GE Canada and Raytheon Canada Limited Services and Support Division)

Canada will provide two opportunities for all bidders to demonstrate that they can present a plan to meet Canada's security and interoperability requirements. The security offer is due in fall 2019, and following feedback from Canada, bidders may revise and resubmit that offer as part of the initial proposal in spring 2020 …
More @ link
 

The Bread Guy

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And, for the record, the online RFP notice (also attached in case link doesn't work) ...
... Nature of Requirements:

The Future Fighter Capability Project (FFCP) is Canada’s project to acquire 88 advanced fighter aircraft and associated equipment, training and maintenance, materiel, engineering and information system set-up and support to enable achievement of full operational capability of the new fleet. The requirement also includes weapons, sustainment tools and auxiliary equipment (purchased on an as and when requested basis) in addition to initial set-up and sustainment during transition. The scope of sustainment for the new fleet may also include some or all of the steady-state period.

Canada’s Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) Policy, including Value Proposition, is being applied to this procurement. Bidders will be required to detail how they will fulfill Canada’s economic benefits requirements, including supporting jobs and growth in Canada, over the coming decades.

This procurement is subject to national security exception and is, therefore, excluded from all of the procurement obligations of the trade agreements.

SUPPLIERS LIST:
A Suppliers List was established in February 2018 as a result of the Suppliers List Invitation (SLI).

SUPPLIERS ON THE SUPPLIERS LIST:
Entities forming the Suppliers on the Suppliers List as of July 17, 2019 are:
- Sweden - SAAB AB (publ) - Aeronautics
- United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland - Airbus Defense    and Space GmbH (with MBDA UK Limited; L3 Technologies MAS and CAE Canada)
- United States - Lockheed Martin Corporation (Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company)(with Pratt & Whitney)
- United States - The Boeing Company (with Peraton Canada Corp, CAE Inc., L3 Technologies MAS Inc., GE Canada, and Raytheon Canada Limited
Services and Support Division.

FORMAL REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL RELEASE
Canada released the formal Request for Proposal (RFP) on July 23, 2019 to all eligible Suppliers on the Suppliers List on that date. In accordance with Article 1.4 of the SLI, only Suppliers on the Suppliers List at the time of the formal RFP release are invited to bid.

Delivery Date: Above-mentioned*

The Crown retains the right to negotiate with suppliers on any procurement.

Documents may be submitted in either official language of Canada ...
* - "Date closing 2020/03/30 16:00 Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)"
 

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MarkOttawa

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From former Hornet pilot--somehow I doubt today's pols are willing to take such direct responsibility; and media and opposition would crucify any gov't for being so blatantly political (when all all the big procurement decisions always are, one way or another):

Cabinet needs to take responsibility for cleaning up the fighter procurement mess

"With the release of the two-phased RFP on Tuesday, it is evident that the government continues to ‘game’ the procurement process by delaying the critical security and interoperability issues until after the election to maintain the pretence of an equitable process."

The attempt to purchase a new fighter just keeps getting messier and messier with suppliers threatening to pull out of the competition at one time or another.

This, of course, is all part of the strategy in shaping the request for proposal (RFP) for companies seeking to gain advantages and is a direct result of the government compelling a competition at all costs. Instead of focusing on the military requirement, government insistence on leveraging defence equipment purchases to create jobs and economic growth has become the path to a winning bid. In the last month, all four competitors have threatened to walk away knowing the consequential political fallout in an election year.

Purchasing a fleet of fighter aircraft is a complex process with many variables and the government has a duty to ensure the billions of procurement dollars required are properly spent. Although the goal is to produce an objective assessment, the interplay between the four dimensions involved in military procurement (military, technological, economic, and political) defies simple analysis. The desire to maximize economic offsets has put operational primacy, the purpose of purchasing fighter aircraft in the first place, into question and led to the current manoeuvring to influence the final RFP.

The fighters being offered represent two significant divisions. The first division is technological/sustainability, namely between fourth- and fifth-generation fighter aircraft and revolves around long-term sustainment costs and future technological adaptability. The second division is commercial/security, specifically European (Eurofighter/Gripen) versus American (F-35/Super Hornet) fighters and enmeshes national security compliance with the government’s desire for tailorable economic packages. The specifics of these divisions are important as they impact each of the four dimensions.

The government’s choice to ensure a competitive process with more than three bidders resulted in modifications to the assessment of mandatory criteria in critical operational functions in order to ensure the European platforms could qualify. This benefitted economic interests, however, the initial application of the Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) policy appeared to undermine the primacy of military needs and marginalized the F-35. This led to the spectre of the Liberal government’s promise that “We will not buy the F-35 stealth fighter-bomber” becoming a reality through other policy means.

Consequent changes to the draft RFP to ensure the F-35 was not disadvantaged by the ITB policy resulted in the other three companies challenging the operational requirements as they perceived their advantages in the economic offset criteria disappearing, but the ITB policy still remains problematic.

With the release of the two-phased RFP yesterday, it is evident that the government continues to ‘game’ the procurement process by delaying the critical security and interoperability issues until after the election to maintain the pretence of an equitable process. There is however a way to regain control of this procurement and that is to return to the formula used in procuring the CF-18 — an objective evaluation of the platforms and a subjective decision by cabinet.

Assessment of the military and technological requirements are straightforward given the clear direction that the government provided in the defence policy statement. It is not for the suppliers to question the stated criteria but to reply with their platform capabilities. The economic dimension in the objective assessment needs to focus solely on the life-cycle costs and the platform cost/capability benefit.

The ITB economic offset assessment is subject to politicization and meddling with the stated military and technological criteria. All competitors need to state their value proposition in global terms during objective evaluation, but only two finalists should be asked to prepare a complete bid for subjective selection by those responsible and accountable to the public — cabinet.

Canadians do need a substantive return on the $20 billion allocated for the future fighter purchase, but our national security and relationship with the U.S. in both geostrategic and technological terms is fundamental. It is up to cabinet to make a subjective decision on Canada’s future fighter based on evidence supplied by an objective evaluation and subjective economic returns, not a bureaucratic formula that they can hide behind.

Alan Stephenson is a fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, holds a PhD from Carleton University, and is a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces with 3,600 fighter hours flying third generation CF-104 Starfighters and fourth generation CF-18 Hornets. He has held senior appointments in National Defence Headquarters, NATO and NORAD.
https://ipolitics.ca/2019/07/25/cabinet-needs-to-take-responsibility-for-cleaning-up-the-fighter-procurement-mess/

Mark
Ottawa
 
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