Matt Gurney: Nine years. Two elections. And still no new fighter jets for Canada

National Post
The fuselage of a CF-18 fighter jet | James Alexander Michie

The fuselage of a CF-18 fighter jet shows in September 2006 how many bombs it deployed during the Bosnian war. Peter J. Thompson / National Post

The McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet is a fighter aircraft of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) based on the American fighter McDonnell Douglas F / A-18 Hornet. In 1980, the F / A-18 was selected as the winner of the New Fighter Aircraft Project contest and was awarded a production order. The Canadian Forces began receiving the CF-18 in 1982.

Likewise, the CF-18s have supported the air sovereignty patrols of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and participated in the combat during the Gulf War in 1991, the Kosovo War in the late 1990s, and as part of the Canadian contribution to the international no-fly zone of Libya in 2011. The CF-18s were also part of the Canadian contribution to military intervention against ISIL, Operation Impact

Now, it’s been at least nine years. Two elections. And still, Canada remains without new warplanes for Canada

Simple promises

Due to this problem, several questions arise, one of which at first sounds like a mediocre joke. And how many governments do you need to buy a fighter plane? This is not a joke, in fact in Canada, it’s a sincere question

Now, with only months to fulfill its mandate, the Liberals have announced that the latest attempt to replace our larger CF-18 aircraft will begin next month. There is no doubt that the CF-18s, which date back to the early 1980s, need a desperate replacement. This was known to be a problem many years ago. The aircraft underwent significant improvements in the early years of the 21st century, whose goal was to extend their useful life to somewhere around 2017, perhaps 2020 at the latest.

Likewise, we are already in 2019 and not only continue to fly the CF-18, but we are buying used F-18 Australian from a similar crop, in order to help restore some volume to a fleet of CF-18.

On the other hand, it is necessary to mention that Australians have already acquired new ones, which proves that this is not impossible.

The fact that Canada already had a plan to replace aircraft, or at least for the effort to be underway, should not be overlooked. That being the case, on several occasions, it has been an electoral issue. As in 2010, the Harper Tories announced that Canada would buy 65 F-35 poachers. The announcement was immediately controversial due to the high cost and unique nature of the acquisition, and eventually, it did not get anywhere.

Source: Matt Gurney | National Post

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