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

Blackadder1916

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Back many years ago, just after the F5 came into service, I was at, I think Bagotville on my ACO course and there was an F5 siting on the hanger floor next to the engine of a Voodoo. There wasn't much of a size difference. We still had 104s in Germany as well.

That's me a few years later on my FAC course in the back seat of an F5 for my familiarization flight about to attack Gagetown. No cookies lost.

View attachment 64450

🍻

If you're a trivia fan - looks as though you're in 813 (the two seaters were numbered 116801 to 116846).

Another view of that aircraft.

9 December 1968 - Taken on strength

Originally ordered as RCAF 14813, re-marked before completion. Delivered direct to CFB Cold Lake, Alberta. On static display at CFB Namao on Armed Forces Day, 1969. May have been first public display of type. Operated by 433e L'Escadre de Combat, CFB Bagotville, PQ., in aluminum paint, by 1974. Also operated by 434 Squadron. Received structural upgrade late 1980s. With No. 419 Squadron at Cold Lake in 1990 and 1993. In storage at Aircraft Maintenance Development Unit at CFB Trenton by February 1995. Seen in storage, inside Hanger 3 at CFD Mountain View, Ontario in October 2005. Nose section in use as recruiting aid by 2007, still in aggressor markings. Reportedly owned by Public Affairs Exhibits.
 

FJAG

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If you're a trivia fan - looks as though you're in 813 (the two seaters were numbered 116801 to 116846).

Another view of that aircraft.

Thanks for that. We groundpounding types generally never think about the history of an aircraft. While I went to Bagotville for the ACO course, this flight was actually out of Summerside. I was on the Advanced Arty course in Gagetown and the the FAC course was part of that. They flew half of us students to Summerside to fly in the jets while the other half did the FACing, then the next day we changed round.

For some years now I've been trying to remember where it was that I flew in a Tracker (I keep having these visions of being stuffed into that back seat for some time without remember where in hell I ever had that opportunity). The more I think about it the more I'm convinced that we were ferried across to Summerside, two at a time, aboard Trackers. My only other recollection of that time was leisurely sitting on a sunny hill overlooking a valley calling in a round of fire for effect while writing my wife a letter on my field message pad (this being the year I was gone from home for almost eleven months on one course after exercise after course after exercise after course)

Fun times

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CBH99

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The F-35 will be the best choice for us, for a variety of reasons - when everything works as intended, and the maintenance issues have been resolved. There are still some pretty expensive fixes that need to happen first, one of which is the engine issue. (Jet engines aren't remotely cheap)

It's been an accidental blessing we didn't purchase out 65 aircraft when the Conservatives first announced the procurement - financially & availability wise, I think we'd be in worse shape. The Hornets, as old as they may be, are still reliable sluggers -- and while we all agree they need to be replaced, I really do think it's actually been a blessing our federal government is so incompetent at procurement... let others pay for the expensive fixes before we place our orders.

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MarkOttawa

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The F-35 will be the best choice for us, for a variety of reasons - when everything works as intended, and the maintenance issues have been resolved. There are still some pretty expensive fixes that need to happen first, one of which is the engine issue. (Jet engines aren't remotely cheap)

It's been an accidental blessing we didn't purchase out 65 aircraft when the Conservatives first announced the procurement - financially & availability wise, I think we'd be in worse shape. The Hornets, as old as they may be, are still reliable sluggers -- and while we all agree they need to be replaced, I really do think it's actually been a blessing our federal government is so incompetent at procurement... let others pay for the expensive fixes before we place our orders.

0.02
Meanwhile price looks like stalling, at least for a while:

Steady F-35 Price Reductions Likely at an End​


The next three lots of F-35 production—now being negotiated—likely won’t see much, if any, lowering of unit prices, Lockheed Martin aeronautics vice president Gregory M. Ulmer said Feb. 19.

A reduction in units being procured and an increase in capability of the aircraft will make it tough to keep the price from rising, he said.

“If you look at the next three lots, there’s going to be quite a bit of pressure, I would say, keeping the cost neutral,” Ulmer told journalists on a telecon press conference ahead of AFA’s virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium Feb. 24-26.

There’s “a significant quantity reduction in the next three years … on the order of 100 aircraft,” he said, so there will be fewer aircraft across which to spread overhead costs.

In the Lot 12, 13, and 14 deal, announced in October 2019, there were 478 aircraft, and Lockheed’s unit price for the F-35A model fell below $80 million apiece for the first time. The Lot 12-14 contract reduced F-35 unit prices nearly 13 percent over the previous lots, and marked the sixth successive year of unit price reductions.

“We also know we’re going to put Tech Refresh 3 [upgraded software, improved core processor, new cockpit display] and new capabilities on the aircraft” in Lots 15-17, Ulmer said. Given all that, “We’re working to keep a cost-neutral position” for the next production lots.

The Joint Program Office reported in January that its contracting strategy for Lots 15-17 will be to negotiate a “base year” contract for Lot 15, with two single-year options in Lots 16 and 17.

The F-35 still has not been declared ready for full-rate production; that status has been repeatedly delayed while the Pentagon integrates the aircraft with the Joint Simulation Environment, a Pentagon wargaming system that assesses the right numbers of various platforms for various combat scenarios.

Declaring the F-35 ready for full-rate production will make it possible for a multi-year contract of five to seven years, Ulmer said, noting that partners are already taking advantage of block buy quantities to reduce risk. That arrangement would enable contractors and subs to make better deals for materials and labor, which could hold prices down, he said [emphasis added]...

Mark
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Kirkhill

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Didn't see anyone post this news on the Australian Loyal Wingman project -

First flight - 1 March.

 

PuckChaser

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Maiden flight? Man we should dump 50% of our manned aircraft fleet for this clearly combat ready and proven technology!!!!
 

Kirkhill

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Maiden flight? Man we should dump 50% of our manned aircraft fleet for this clearly combat ready and proven technology!!!!
Well. Don't know about you, but 5 years seems to go by in an awful big hurry. Especially if PWGSC is involved.

It seems like only yesterday when Perrin Beatty was kicking the tyres on 12 nuclear subs and we were debating the merits of the Marder. And I had only captured enough carbon for half of the man I am today.
 

PuckChaser

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The F-35 is the only thing I can think of in recent memory where we bought into a project with intent to purchase before it was a mature capability. I wouldn't even be opposed to us signing a MOU to help pay for research costs for Loyal Wingman, but that's our next bound in purchases. We shouldn't be short changing current requirements for future, unproven designs.
 

Kirkhill

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The F-35 is the only thing I can think of in recent memory where we bought into a project with intent to purchase before it was a mature capability. I wouldn't even be opposed to us signing a MOU to help pay for research costs for Loyal Wingman, but that's our next bound in purchases. We shouldn't be short changing current requirements for future, unproven designs.
No doubt.

And we probably shouldn't be wasting money on moonshots and Mars explorers that could be spent on welfare checks, neither.

....

I don't get it. We seem to spend a lot of time worrying about what we can't do because of the money we don't have but seem to be unable to look at changing the way we do things with the money we do have.

Let me take crewing ships as an example.

AOPS - 45 man crew but we put on 68 - an extra half a crew - 6 boats with 9 crews and at the same time I hear complaints about not being able to find sailors for the ships we do have because they don't want the sea time.

CSC is heading the same direction - boats designed for crews of less than a hundred and we are looking to put 200 sailors in them .... but, again, we have trouble filling the berths on the 12 frigates we do have.

...

I agree we have to keep "one foot on the ground". But we also always have to "keep looking downfield" for open ground. And be prepared to change direction when the opportunity presents.

...

Do I think that we should chuck the hunt for the F35s and go all in on Loyal Wingman? That'd be daft. But investing in the Aussie programme or even the Brit's Taranis.... while bringing the F35s on line. There's a thought.

...

RAAF

Loyal Wingman - 6 prototypes on order
MQ-9B - 12-16 on order
MQ-4C - 6 on order

F35 - 33 in service, total of 72 ordered
F/A-18F - 24 in service
EA-18G - 11 in service

E-7A - 6 in service
MC-55A - 4 on order
P-8 - 12 in service, 2 on order

And we can go on...

The issue is not always the money we have. It is the way we choose to spend the money.

Cheers. :)(y)
 

PuckChaser

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I honestly don't think manned vs unmanned aircraft is going to be the big PY savings everyone thinks it is. What you reduce in ALSE Techs you gain double or triple in Sigs pers to maintain the massive amounts of bandwidth to fly the things remotely, and in the Loyal Wingman case you still need a manned aircraft to control it.

We still haven't even cracked the seal on the big discussion on whether we'll let autonomous vehicles deploy munitions against an enemy without a human pushing the button....
 

Kirkhill

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I honestly don't think manned vs unmanned aircraft is going to be the big PY savings everyone thinks it is. What you reduce in ALSE Techs you gain double or triple in Sigs pers to maintain the massive amounts of bandwidth to fly the things remotely, and in the Loyal Wingman case you still need a manned aircraft to control it.

We still haven't even cracked the seal on the big discussion on whether we'll let autonomous vehicles deploy munitions against an enemy without a human pushing the button....
True enough.

With or without a pilot it still takes a ground crew to get the aircraft into the air. So your probably right in terms of swapping UAVs for piloted craft. On the other hand your sortie efficiencies might go up with 3 uavs playing follow-the-leader with every manned aircraft.

But that is why I think that things like the UAVs being trialled by the Royal Marines to replace CQ vehicles have more promise to deliver savings. Also on board ships and in AFVs I am still of the opinion that needs must and that we must accept smaller crews and increased robotics to increase the number of platforms - platforms with more capable munition loadouts . We need the woman-in-the-loop. We shouldn't need so many of them.

And why can't we drive a frigate from inside a lifeboat?
 

dimsum

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I honestly don't think manned vs unmanned aircraft is going to be the big PY savings everyone thinks it is. What you reduce in ALSE Techs you gain double or triple in Sigs pers to maintain the massive amounts of bandwidth to fly the things remotely, and in the Loyal Wingman case you still need a manned aircraft to control it.

We still haven't even cracked the seal on the big discussion on whether we'll let autonomous vehicles deploy munitions against an enemy without a human pushing the button....
That's why I think we won't go all in on unmanned (as opposed to remotely piloted/crewed) aircraft just yet. Imagine if a completely autonomous aircraft drops bombs on the wrong target (civilian or friendly casualties). Who is at fault?

However, with Remotely Piloted Aircraft you definitely don't lose PYs at all. In fact, with the whole point of them being longer on-station times, you need multiple crews. MQ-9s already have a 3-person crew for the aircraft (Pilot, Sensor Operator, and Mission Int Coordinator) with another bunch of Int folks working while it's flying. So...5-6 people for each aircraft. That's almost as many as an Aurora.
 

FJAG

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That's why I think we won't go all in on unmanned (as opposed to remotely piloted/crewed) aircraft just yet. Imagine if a completely autonomous aircraft drops bombs on the wrong target (civilian or friendly casualties). Who is at fault?

However, with Remotely Piloted Aircraft you definitely don't lose PYs at all. In fact, with the whole point of them being longer on-station times, you need multiple crews. MQ-9s already have a 3-person crew for the aircraft (Pilot, Sensor Operator, and Mission Int Coordinator) with another bunch of Int folks working while it's flying. So...5-6 people for each aircraft. That's almost as many as an Aurora.
But all things being equal, you should be able to train several UAV operators for the cost of training one afterburner jockey. The airframes should be less costly and if you loose one you don't loose an afterburner jockey with it. In fact many of your drones could very well be one-trip-munition vehicles designed to suicide on the target or alternatively just release a precision guided weapon near the target. To get back to another thread, you could probably train NCOs to pilot remote munitions and no longer need to worry about the pilot attrition rate 🙂

There are endless possibilities here limited only by our imagination. And yes, in mine there are still roles for fighter jocks.

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SeaKingTacco

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But all things being equal, you should be able to train several UAV operators for the cost of training one afterburner jockey. The airframes should be less costly and if you loose one you don't loose an afterburner jockey with it. In fact many of your drones could very well be one-trip-munition vehicles designed to suicide on the target or alternatively just release a precision guided weapon near the target. To get back to another thread, you could probably train NCOs to pilot remote munitions and no longer need to worry about the pilot attrition rate 🙂

There are endless possibilities here limited only by our imagination. And yes, in mine there are still roles for fighter jocks.

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It ain’t the training costs the kill you, it is the pay and benefits envelope...
 

FJAG

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It ain’t the training costs the kill you, it is the pay and benefits envelope...
The good news is that the Air Force already has 3,700 officers so we really don't need any more than we're paying now. We just need to winkle them out of the cubicles that they are hiding in.

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blacktriangle

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To get back to another thread, you could probably train NCOs to pilot remote munitions and no longer need to worry about the pilot attrition rate 🙂
Definitely, but there may still be some unique retention issues to deal with. Stress/burnout, moral dilemmas, and so on. Especially for younger NCM sensor operators and Int types, who over time may decide that the "juice ain't worth the squeeze". As long as enough training capacity exists, I guess it won't matter too much. The CAF always seems to struggle in that regard, though...
 
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