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CF-35 published paper.pdf

CF-35 published paper.pdf

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Published by dmaju861
CF-35 paper Canadian Foreign Policy Journal
CF-35 paper Canadian Foreign Policy Journal

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Published by: dmaju861 on Mar 25, 2013
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This article was downloaded by: [Rob Huebert]On: 03 February 2012, At: 18:34Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK
Canadian Foreign Policy Journal
Publication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rcfp20
The future of Canadian airpower andthe F-35
Rob Huebert
aa
Department of Political Science, University of Calgary, Calgary,CanadaAvailable online: 02 Feb 2012
To cite this article:
Rob Huebert (2011): The future of Canadian airpower and the F-35, CanadianForeign Policy Journal, 17:3, 228-238
To link to this article:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/11926422.2011.638196
PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLEFull terms and conditions of use:http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionsThis article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Anysubstantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden.The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representationthat the contents will be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of anyinstructions, formulae, and drug doses should be independently verified with primarysources. The publisher shall not be liable for any loss, actions, claims, proceedings,demand, or costs or damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly orindirectly in connection with or arising out of the use of this material.
 
The future of Canadian airpower and the F-35
Rob Huebert
Department of Political Science, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
Keywords:
Canadian Airpower; F-35; Military Strategy; Canadian Defence Policy 
Introduction
The Harper government’s announcement in July 2010 that it would be purchasing 65 F-35 air-craft unleashed a storm of controversy (CBC, 16 July 2010). Much of it focused on the anticipatedcost of purchasing the aircraft. As the aircraft is still in development the final cost is uncertain.The real debate is whether in the future Canada needs the airpower that is provided by the F-35s. As a medium power, does Canada need the capability provided by fighter aircraft as itmoves into the twenty-first century? Will Canada require the ability to engage in future hostileaerospace environments? Will Canada need to have airpower to defend its borders and todefend future foreign deployments? These are the real questions that need to be asked. Oncethese questions have been addressed, then the issue of costs may be examined.In assessing Canada’s future airpower requirements, the literature on the subject is quitelimited. Apart from Joseph Jockel, Andrew Godefroy, Scott Robertson and James Fergusson,academics have made little effort to understand Canadian airpower. Canada’s allies have powerfulair forces. Since the Americans have tended to do most of the thinking on the subject,
1
few CanadianshavegivenseriousthoughttowhatairpowermeansforCanada.MostCanadiansareprob-ably unaware that Canadian airpower has played a vital role in Canadian security in terms of warfighting, deterrence, and otheroverseas deployments for peace-keeping, peace-making and soforth.In order to address whether Canada needs its own airpower, this analysis will look at two key issues: will Canada need to have fighter-based airpower for the next 30 to 40 years? If yes, whattype of aircraft is necessary and what is available?Canada will operate the replacement for the CF-18s (also labeled as CF-188s) for 30 to 40 years. Every aircraft has its own ‘shelf-life’, that is, how long it can be operated. Both theRussian and American Air Forces still maintain and operate bombers that were built in thelate 1950s and early 1960s (Tu-95 and B-52) (FAS 2000, 2010a). Likewise Canada still operatesthe CC-138 Twin-Otters that were built in the early 1970s in its northern region (CanadianArmy, 10 March 2011). However, due to high speeds and other demands placed on them, the
ISSN 1192-6422 print/ISSN 2157-0817 online
#
2011 NPSIA http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/11926422.2011.638196http://www.tandfonline.com
Rob Huebert is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science and the associate director of theCentre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary. He was a senior research fellow of theCanadian International Council; a fellow with Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute and inNovember 2010 was appointed as a commissioner to the Canadian Polar Commission. Department of Political Science, University of Calgary, Calgary Alberta, T2N 1N4. Email: Rhuebert@ucalgary.ca
Canadian Foreign Policy Journal 
Vol. 17, No. 3, September 2011, 228–238
   D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   R  o   b   H  u  e   b  e  r   t   ]  a   t   1   8  :   3   4   0   3   F  e   b  r  u  a  r  y   2   0   1   2
 
life expectancy of fighter aircraft tends to be shorter than that of bombers or other slower aircraft.Nevertheless, the Canadian Air Force has been successful in extending the life of most of its air-craft, particularly its current fleet of CF-18s. The fleet first entered service in 1982 and the finalaircraft was procured in 1988 (Canada, 3 March 2007). It continues to deliver front line service(as illustrated by its current deployment in the Libyan conflict in 2011), with 79 operational air-craft currently (CBC, 21 March 2011). Already in service from 23 to 29 years, the modernizationprogram could extend the CF-18s service for another six years until 2017 (Roberds 2006). Theaircraft could be operating for over 30 years. Although Canada is expected to take delivery of the F-35s in 2017, Canada has seldom taken possession of a major weapon system on time,due to delays in the procurement program. It is likely that the CF-18s will need to be maintainedpast 2017.Nevertheless, the Canadian Air Force hopes to commence procurement on schedule in 2016and then continue for several years. If these new aircraft prove to be as durable as the current CF-18s, it stands to reason that the F-35 aircraft will be in use for the next 25 to 30 years. Assuming that Canada takes possession of these new aircraft from 2016 to 2020, they will be in use untilapproximately 2050. This is the time period that must be considered for the purpose of answering the question about Canadian airpower.
Canadian airpower
As mentioned earlier, discussions about Canadian airpower have been limited to a small numberof academics and members of the Canadian Forces. As such, there is considerable ambiguity regarding the term. An examination of recent Canadian Air Force documents such as
Vectors  2020: An air force strategic assessment 
or
Canadian Forces aerospace doctrine 
does not directly define Canadian airpower. Even many of the best academic writings on the term sidestep theissue (Ferguson 2009). Most of these make reference to the ‘classical’ theorists of the field suchas Douhet, Mitchell, Trenchard, Seversky, and Slessor, as well as those that are considered tobe more modern theorists such as Boyd and Warden (Meilinger 2003). But there is a frustrating lack of precision as to what is actually meant by the term
Canadian airpower 
.Perhaps the best explanation of Canadian airpower has been provided by the former Chief of Air Staff (i.e., head of the Air Force) Ken Pennie. He wrote that the mission of the CanadianAir Force is: “To control and exploit the aerospace environment for military purposes that con-tribute to Canadian’s ‘security and national objectives’” (2004–2005). Thus the aerospaceenvironment anything that starts at the ground and continues into space is the uniqueelement in which the assets of the Canadian Air Force are utilized to provide for Canadiansecurity.The difference of airpower from other types of power has been summarized by Mueller(2010). In an excellent review of airpower he identifies four main attributes of modern airpowerthat makes it a unique form of coercive force. First, given the speed, range and flexibility of modern aircraft, modern air forces can bypass both the land and naval forces of an enemy. Sec-ondly, these same forces can be massed very quickly. Unlike naval or land forces, an air force canbe concentrated in a matter of hours, giving it the ability to act almost immediately. Third, thesefirst two attributes mean that from a political perspective, leaders of countries who have strong airforces tend to use the air force as their first deployed military response. The net effect is that a statewith airpower supremacy is in a position to dominate any location of its choosing by suppressing the naval and land forces of the opposing side.Mueller also points out that there had been a growing belief in the 1990s that airpower alonecould also achieve military and political victory. This was based on the increasing precision of weapons systems combined with the accuracy provided by space-based communication and
Canadian Foreign Policy Journal 
/
La politique e ´trange `re du Canada
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