With Russia shaking the cobwebs of complacency across NATO and everyone rushing to upgrade their air forces I wonder what the lead time for F-35As for Canada will be.
First delivery is 2025. Last delivery is in the early 2030s. Currently the Hornet fleet is slated to completely retire by 2032. So drawdown will probably start in the late 2020s after we have enough F-35s on the ramp.
. I expect the last CF-18 will retire in the early 2030s, over fifty years since it entered service - akin to taking a 1916 Sopwith Camel into the 1966+ Vietnam War.
I get your point. But it's a bit deceiving. Technology changed substantially from the 1910s to the 1960s. This really isn't the case for 4th generation fighters. And the technology that did change (avionics, glass cockpit, helmet mounted displays, scanned arrays, etc.) could all be inserted into the current platforms. Today's CF18 would be substantially unrecognizable to a pilot who took delivery of them in the 1980s.
Also, we aren't exceptional on this front. The most famous example of technological insertion keeping a platform relevant is the B-52. The USAF plans to retire that in 2050, after a century of service.
As for the size of the fleet, is there any other nation with a lower fighter to square km of territory ratio?
No. But there's also nobody that has vast amounts of space that are useless to an attacker. There's really no risk of having to engage in air combat over Regina. To the extent that we have to defend against Russian intrusions, it about stopping bombers coming over the poles and threatening to fire cruise missiles that could hit our military and economic centres. We need enough fighters to stop and deter that, and enough to contribute to collective security in Europe. I think our current numbers are good for the first. Maybe we should consider amphibious carriers and F-35Bs for the latter task.
But no matter, it’s good news. Now let’s get the Halifax and Victoria classes replaced ASAP. AFAIk there’s been zero chatter on the latter.
We're behind on planning a replacement for the Victoria class. But I'm surprised that you don't know about the replacement for the Halifax Class
. We're part of the Type 26 program with the UK and Australia. That's a highly capable cutting edge platform. And Canada is buying just under the combined total of the UK and Australia. Huge for us. While the Brits will take delivery of their first in 2024, the Aussies and us haven't cut steel yet and will take first delivery in the early 2030s.
We should discuss getting more subs. Maybe, you're right about that. We should also talk about losing our status as the only country in NATO without short range air defence, or being the only country in the G7 without amphibious or carrier capabilities, or not having attack helicopters, etc. There's a lot on the list that we lack. The shopping list is less important than having a serious discussion on foreign policy and where our military fits into that. The military can then determine what to buy and how to prioritize it.