|How the jets are scored.|
The Canadian government has handed over the decision pick a "next generation fighter" to the Ministry of Public Works. So how is the Ministry of Public Works going to pick a fighter? Clues may be found in the "Draft Industry Engagement Request" sent to Lockheed, Boeing, Eurofighter, Dassault, and Saab. This document basically asks manufacturers to brag up their products' capabilities and performance. A second request will be sent later to ascertain pricing and economic benefits.
Reading through this request is challenge. In typical government fashion, it is a very dry read full of redundancies and buzzwords. I've taken the liberty of making a rough translation concentrating on the "selling points" listed. I've also added my own comments, in italics.
"Blah blah blah blah..."
- How good is your jet against: a) Air, b) Ground, c) Sea based targets?
- What type of radar does it use, how good is it, and what is the range?
- What sort of infrared or other sensors does it use for fighter and missile sized targets? (The Rhino's kludgy IRST may put it at a disadvantage here)
- What weapons do they use and how good are they against: a) Air, b) Ground, c) Sea based targets?
- Describe the electronic warfare suite and its effectiveness.
- Describe the jamming system and its effectiveness.
- What sort of infrared protection is in place?
- What sort of countermeasures does it use and how much?
- What sort datalink does it use? What's its range, security, compatibility, etc?
- What sort of voice communication does it use? Does it work beyond line of sight? (i.e. Satellite)
- What's the pilot interface? (HOTAS, voice command, night vision, HMD, etc?)
- Does it have sensor fusion?
- What's its RF (radar) signature.
- What's its IR (infrared) signature?
- How can it reduce or conceal its RF and IR emissions and does this reduce performance?
- a) List the engine's thrust-to-weight ratio (T/W) with air-to-air and air-to-ground load-outs with full and 50% fuel. b) What's the wing loading? c)What's the turn rate, both instantaneous and sustained at sea level, 15,000ft and 30,000ft?
- What is it's combat radius, ferry range, and endurance (time on station)?
- List any other capability not listed here.
PRODUCTION AND SUPPORTABILITY
- Procurement. a)When does the assembly line shut down? b)What is the production capacity? c)How much more development needs to be done? (a) hurts the Super Hornet, since it is near the end of its life, b) hurts the F-35 since it is still far from being ready.
- What is the structural life in hours, years, take-off and landing cycles, etc?
- How reliable are the weapon systems?
- What are the future software upgrades?
- What security requirements are needed? (this hurts the F-35)
- Describe the maintenance and weapons system support.
- When does this support expire (this could hurt the Super Hornet if production is cut and it gets replaced by the F-35 or F/A-XX)
- What simulators are needed.
- List the cleared air-to-air, air-to-ground, and air-to-surface (sea) weapons. (this hurts the F-35 and the Rafale most of all)
- What are the requirements for self-sufficient operations in deployed locations (this would highly favor the Gripen)
- How well does it comply with other weapons (NATO, etc).
- How is the all-weather performance, including the arctic? (again, the Gripen scores well here).
- Describe the upgrade approach.
- What is the potential for future upgrades? How much space is available, how open is the architecture, etc?
- List additional upgradeable features.
- What is the fuel type? Does it support aerial refueling? etc...
- Are there export restrictions?
- Is it sold through foreign military sales or direct commercial sales? (direct commercial sales are likely to have less restrictions).