• Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Featured Boeing Shows Super Hornets Bristling With 14 Missiles In Formal Sales Pitch To Canada

Discussion in 'Air Warfare' started by Gomig-21, Aug 1, 2020.

  1. Gomig-21

    Gomig-21 SENIOR MEMBER

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    Boeing Shows Super Hornets Bristling With 14 Missiles In Formal Sales Pitch To Canada
    Boeing's Super Hornet is now formally competing against Lockheed Martin's F-35 and Saab's Gripen E to become Canada's next fighter jet.
    BY JOSEPH TREVITHICKJULY 31, 2020

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    Boeing has formally submitted its Block III F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to the Royal Canadian Air Force's competition to select its next fighter jet. The company also released concept art of the configuration it is pitching to the Canadians, which shows aircraft equipped with conformal fuel tanks, carrying a podded infrared search and track sensor, and armed with an impressive 12 AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles and a pair of shorter-range AIM-9X Sidewinders. Lockheed Martin is also competing with its F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and Saab has submitted its Gripen E.

    The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) is hoping to receive 88 new fighter jets to replace its existing CF-18A/B+ Hornets under what is officially known as the Future Fighter Capability Project (FFCP). Canada's Public Services and Procurement department announced that it had received all three formal proposals on July 31, 2020. The final contract could be worth between 15 and 19 Billion Canadian dollars, or between around $11.2 billion and nearly $14.2 billion in U.S. dollars at the present rate of conversion.

    "We have a partnership with Canada that spans more than 100 years," Jim Barnes, the Director of Canada Fighter Sales at Boeing Defense, Space & Security, said in a statement regarding his company's submission. "The Super Hornet is the most cost-effective and capable option for the FFCP, and a Super Hornet selection will help the RCAF meet their mission needs."


    The Boeing press release doesn't highlight any specific features of the Super Hornets that it is offering to the RCAF, but, as noted, the concept art shows jets with conformal fuel tanks (CFT). The CFTs are a key component of the Block III Super Hornet, which the Chicago-headquartered plane maker first developed for the U.S. Navy and that you can read about in more detail in this past War Zone piece.

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    The firm has highlighted in the past how the CFTs would fit well with Canada's requirements for its fighter jet fleets, which includes major air defense mission sets as part of the U.S.-Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and NATO's air policing operations in Europe. The extra fuel gives the jets extra range and allows them to stay on station longer without the burden of drop tanks that also take up underwing hardpoints that could be used for weapons or other stores. One of the aircraft in Boeing's concept art is also carrying a buddy refueling store, which would allow RCAF Super Hornets to refuel each other in flight. This could help further extend the ability of aircraft on patrol to stay aloft.

    The podded infrared search and track sensor (IRST), which is built into a modified drop tank that the aircraft can carry on its centerline station, is another upgrade for the Super Hornet that the U.S. Navy has been working on for years now and that you can read about in much more detail in this recent War Zone feature. The IRST system offers an invaluable additional tool for spotting and tracking targets, including stealthy aircraft, at extended ranges that is also immune to electronic warfare jamming.

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    Concept art Boeing released in announcing its submission of a proposal for the FFCP competition. The aircraft in the foreground is carrying a podded infrared search and track sensor in a modified drop tank.

    The Super Hornets would also come with an active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar that would also offer improved target detection and target capabilities, especially compared to the RCAF's existing Hornets. Last month, the U.S. government actually approved the potential sale of an upgrade package for the CF-18A/B+s that would notably include refitting them with AN/APG-79(V)4 AESA radars.

    That prospective deal also included a batch of AIM-9Xs, which are not presently in Canada's inventory, but is another item that Boeing has highlighted in announcing its Super Hornet offer for the RCAF. These Sidewinders are still receiving upgrades that are increasingly making them a longer-range, multi-purpose weapon rather than just a dogfighting missile, as you can read about in more detail in this previous War Zone story.

    Overall, Boeing's concept art shows a serious air-to-air loadout overall, including five AIM-120s under each wing and another two on the aircraft's fuselage stations on the sides of the engine air intakes, representing around between $12 and $13 million in weapons alone. The Canadians had previously expressed an interest in buying AIM-120D missiles, the most advanced version of the AMRAAM to date, which would be a good fit for these new aircraft.

    Boeing, which for a time looked like it might get shut out of the Canadian fighter jet competition over a tangential trade dispute, could actually have a leg up in the competition because of its long history working with the RCAF and its CF-18A/B+ fleet. The company's offer is "leveraging existing infrastructure to drive down the long-term sustainment cost of the aircraft," Barnes, the Director of Canada Fighter Sales, added in his statement. This is true in that there is an extensive commonality between the legacy Hornet and Super Hornet that goes far beyond hardware. Training and sustainment, in particular, enjoys substantial continuity between the two types.

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    Still, the Super Hornet offer is likely to face significant competition for the final contract, especially from Lockheed Martin's F-35. Canada is already a member of the Joint Strike Fighter Program, which has created unusual, but serious complications for the FFCP. Canadian authorities had planned to buy 65 of those jets before the Liberal Party government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau scrapped that deal after coming to power in 2015. The Canadian Department of National Defense subsequently agreed to buy 25 ex-Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18A/B Hornets as an interim option, after a proposed purchase of 18 new F/A-18E/F Super Hornets from Boeing collapsed in 2017.

    "We are extremely proud of our longstanding partnership with Canada, which has played a key role in the F-35's development," Greg Ulmer, F-35 Program Executive Vice President at Lockheed Martin, said in a statement. "The 5th Generation F-35 would transform the Royal Canadian Air Force fleet and deliver the capabilities necessary to safeguard Canadian skies. The F-35's unique mix of stealth and sensor technology will enable the Royal Canadian Air Force to modernize their contribution to NORAD operations, ensure Arctic sovereignty and meet increasingly sophisticated global threats."

    The concept art that Lockheed Martin released along with its proposal notably shows F-35A variants with an optional drag chute installed on top of the rear fuselage. Lockheed Martin developed this feature first for Norway's F-35As, which is intended to help with landings on runways covered in snow or ice. The RCAF similarly operates from bases in areas where these weather conditions, as well as extremely low ambient temperatures, are common. Curiously, however, Canadian authorities have previously said that they will not conduct cold-weather testing on any of the entrants in the FFCP and instead rely on data already gathered as part of evaluations by other countries.

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    Concept art that Lockheed Martin released accompanying its announcement about entering the competition to supply the RCAF's next fighter jet that shows three F-35As equipped with optional drag chutes.

    Saab's Gripen E is certainly more of a dark horse contender. The Swedish aviation company has been promoting significant potential industrial cooperation as a key component of Gripen offers to Canada and other prospective buyers, as well.

    "The system [Gripen E] meets all of Canada’s specific defense requirements, offering exceptional performance and advanced technical capabilities," Jonas Hjelm, Senior Vice President and head of Saab's Aeronautics business area, said in a statement. "A guarantee to share key technology, in-country production, support and through-life enhancements will ensure that Canada’s sovereignty is enhanced for decades."

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    Saab Gripen Es.

    Gripen was designed to operate highly efficiently from austere conditions by small teams in cold climates, something that Canada could find attractive.

    Canadian authorities hope to pick the winner of the FFCP competition in 2022. The goal is to have the first new fighter jet touch down in the country in 2025.

    The competition over who will supply Canada's next fighter jet already looks set to be fierce in the coming years.

    https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zo...h-14-missiles-in-formal-sales-pitch-to-canada
     
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  2. Enigma SIG

    Enigma SIG SENIOR MEMBER

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    Canada will use this to shoot down the Starship Enterprise?
     
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  3. Gomig-21

    Gomig-21 SENIOR MEMBER

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    lol, IKR. With all those missiles and it wants the AIM-120D also, maybe it can get through the Enterprise's shield? :lol:

    But this will be very interesting to see what they decide on. It seems like the F-35 is the best bet since Canada is probably the US' #1 ally and heavily involved in NORAD and guarding the skies of the entire North American continent along with heavily partnering with the US in intelligence matters etc. that the F-35 with its commonality to a main frame system seems to be the best solution. But if Canada wants to have more of the individuality and freedom of its own working as well as having a traditional fighter with the latest technology, the new Super Hornet with CFT and the AIM-9X as well as possibly the AIM-120D which it appears Boeing is prepared to promise that, too, would be the better option, especially when their current air force is made up of CF-18s and they already are not only quite familiar with it, but have an extensive infrastructure already set up for that aircraft.

    The Gripen only has the cost effectiveness working in its favor IMO. I would be really surprised if they picked it for the next Canadian fighter jet. It just wouldn't make any sense and would only be a cost-saving decision.
     
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  4. A.P. Richelieu

    A.P. Richelieu SENIOR MEMBER

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    The Trudeau government promised not to buy the F-35 and Boeing shot themselves in the foot by blocking Bombardier.
    Canada already planned to buy 20 F/A-18E/Fs Super Hornets to maintain numbers, and this was cancelled when the US put 300% duty on the Bombardier jets to US airlines.

    The RCAF probably wants the F-35, but question is if the politicians want to pay for it.
    If they choose the F-35, they should include a service contract guaranteeing a decent cost per flight hour, and specify that all aircraft should be delivered with all Block 4 planned capabilities, and either directly, or as free upgrades.
     
  5. Gomig-21

    Gomig-21 SENIOR MEMBER

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    How could they possibly guarantee that? The cost per hour is what it is and I don't think there is any way to alter it unless they do something really drastic like not have it coated with any RAM so that part of the hourly maintenance (which is quite arduous from what I've read) gets eliminated and brings that cost down. But then it's not the F-35. Otherwise, what could LM possibly do to reduce that hourly cost of flying that thing?
     
  6. Imran Khan

    Imran Khan PDF VETERAN

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    canada did not fires total 14 missiles in last 50 years
     
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  7. A.P. Richelieu

    A.P. Richelieu SENIOR MEMBER

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    When India purchased Rafale, France/Dassault had to sign a service contract guaranteeing certain availability.
    LM may have to avoid overcharging on spare parts or even take a loss.
    It is the buyers market, if Canada is smart enough.
    Obviously LM cannot reduce the capability of the F-35 if the contract is properly written.
    LM is claiming that they will get the CPFH down in the region of 4th generation fighters, and Canada should simply ask for guarantees.
     
  8. Austin Powers

    Austin Powers ELITE MEMBER

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    Canada has piss poor economy plus the liberal government is cutting defense funding. SH is too expensive for Canada. IMO Canada won't be buying any new fighter jets until 2030 at least and even that it'll be Gripen not SH.

    Liberal government banned Canadian air force from participating in foreign wars, so Gripen is sufficient for Canadian air force.
     
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  9. KAL-EL

    KAL-EL PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    Highly highly doubtful. The Starship enterprise is equipped with a very advanced multiphasic shield grid.
     
  10. Enigma SIG

    Enigma SIG SENIOR MEMBER

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    True. But the Duras sisters did eventually get through that didn't they.
     
  11. KAL-EL

    KAL-EL PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    Very true!

    But to be fair, They had major outside help in doing so.

    Being able to see through Commander Lafarge's visor, Giving them knowledge of what shield frequency the enterprise was using.

    After that, it was practically like a knife going through butter. But, As you know, the Duras sisters Victory was short-lived.
     
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  12. Gomig-21

    Gomig-21 SENIOR MEMBER

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    Ah, ok I see what you mean. I guess the orange baboon really screwed up the relationship with Canada and Trudeau as well as what Boeing did and I'm pretty sure the baboon has something to do with forcing that 300% tariff. But when it comes down to which aircraft makes the best choice for Canada, it's actually a tough call between the F-35 and the F/A-18 Super Hornet with 14 missiles on it. The F-35 is arguably the best platform out there ATM and when it's part of the entire flying conglomerate and is hooked up to all the flying intel assets, it might be unbeatable. But the Hornets are already something the Canadians have and are familiar with and can maintain their independence, so to speak with that aircraft unlike the F-35.

    I don't see the Gripen anywhere in this equation but you never know. If Canada chooses the Gripen, that would be one huge F-you to the US LOL! :lol: I'd love to see them have the balls to do that and make a statement that if it wasn't for Trump's bullying and divisive attitude and actions, we would've stayed with the US and picked one of the two US platforms. But because of him and those imposed tariffs, we're going with the pompous, liberal goody-tooshoo pretentious Euro trash Swedish Gripen LOL! :enjoy:
     
  13. A.P. Richelieu

    A.P. Richelieu SENIOR MEMBER

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    I doubt having 14 missiles is a game changer.
    Since the Gripen was designed to be handled mostly by conscripts on forward airbases,
    I doubt that the ”familiarity” of the Hornet is much of an advantage.
    The built in AWACS and Growler functionality of a group of Gripen is not to be sneezed at.
     
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  14. Yaseen1

    Yaseen1 ELITE MEMBER

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    canada is peaceful country with no proper defense systems and depend on u.s for their security,it is better they go for own weapon development to increase their employment rate instead of depending on u.s for weapons and wasting billions
     
  15. Mamajama

    Mamajama BANNED

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    Gripen is good jet for Canada, that arent even going to need anything else because they have NATO and America most importantly if anything happens.