Monday, 22 April 2013

Lockheed to host "webinar" for the CF-35.

On Tuesday, April 30th, Lockheed Martin will be hosting a "webinar" (Web Seminar) promoting the F-35 for Canada and will even be answering questions from us everyday Canadians interested in the JSF.  Vice President Steve O'Bryan, and test pilot Billie Flynn will be on call to answer questions for a 30 minute Q and A session.

Information for this webinar can be found here:

You can sign up for this webinar here:

A new CF-35 brochure can be found here:

I have already registered, and I hope to be part of the conversation.  I would encourage all of you to do so to.  There are a lot of questions that need to be answered about the F-35 and how it pertains to Canada.

  • What will be the total, ready-for-combat unit cost?
  • What will the flying cost per hour be?
  • What sort of cold weather testing has been done, if any?
  • What is the state of planned external fuel tanks, and has any testing been done so far?
  • Which Canadian bases, besides Cold Lake and Bagotville, will the CF-35 be able to operate from?
  • Has the planned drag-chute system been engineered, finalized or tested yet?
  • What can be done to integrate the F-35A with Canada's current aerial refueling capability? 
  • How well can the CF-35 perform in the intercept role?  i.e.: Rate of climb, time to target, range, payload with a air-to-air weapons load.
  • How well does the F-35 compare to the competition in the intercept role?  
  • Will it be capable of operations in the arctic, both from a weather perspective as well as communications?
  • With cracks being found in the P&W F135 engine grounding the F-35 fleet, and the emergency landing of a F-35 in Lubbuck, Texas, what assurances can be made about the F-35's safety, especially over Canada's north?
  • Why does Canada need stealth?
  • What are the benefits of the F-35 over a stealthy UCAV (X-47, Predator C Avenger) for the strike role?
  • What are the benefits, besides stealth, of the F-35 over aircraft like the Typhoon and Gripen in the air-to-air role?
  • How well does the F-35's stealth features hold up over time and use?
  • When will the CF-35 be ready for Canadian deliveries and operational use?  No, storage in an American hanger does not count.
  • Where will Canadian CF-35 pilots perform their flight training?
  • Will Canada be able to modify, change, or improve the CF-35's software, hardware, or similar without consent of the U.S. or Lockheed Martin?
  • Since Canada has already contributed to the JSF program, are we still entitled to bid on JSF contracts if we choose a different fighter aircraft?  If no, WHY NOT?
  • Will Canada be able to recuperate at least 100% of its F-35 costs in the form of economic offsets?
  • Will the F-35 be participating in any Canadian air shows this summer season?
I'll probably come up with a few more questions between then and now.  This will be Lockheed Martin's big chance to sell us on the F-35 Lightning II.  I'm hoping this "webinar" will contain more substance than the usual marketing buzzwords.  The big question is "Why is the F-35 the best choice for Canada?"

Anybody else got questions?  Please comment!


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    1. Of the questions that we "already know the answer to", I would prefer to hear it from the horse's mouth. The KPMG report is based on 2010 estimates, and a lot has happened since then. I think knowing if the costs have come up or down since then is a fair question.

      As to the Gripen, if given the opportunity, I would ask these same question. Most of them, anyway (not the ones pertaining to the JSF program obviously). In fact, there are a few that would be fair to ask Saab, like whether distance and language would be a factor, etc.

      I'm flattered that you say I have won the cost argument, but there are plenty of Super Hornet fans that would say otherwise. The Rhino is a more mature platform and shares commonality with the current CF-18. Transition would likely be very easy compared to the others.

      There are plenty of cases made for the Gripen on this blog. Indeed, its cost is a huge factor; but so is its ease of maintenance, as well as its ability to operate from austere conditions. It's payload is certainly a liability against it, how much of a liability is not for me to determine.

      I refer to the F-35 mostly as a benchmark. When I started this blog, the F-35 was already selected and the deal was almost certain. Since the F-35 has already been considered sufficient for Canada's needs, it is fair to compare other fighters to it, for better or for worse. Since the focus of this blog is the Gripen, I will concentrate on that. The F-35 has the distinction of already having been selected once, but also is the source of the most publicity of the five.

      I will make an effort to look at the other fighters more in the future, there just isn't much being said. If you look back, I do look at the Rafale's mission in Mali recently. It is not my intent to make this F-35 vs Gripen all the time.

    2. "Rebaselined" LOL! That's one of those "marketing buzzwords" I've been talking about! Basically, it means: "Ignore all those estimates we made up until now... But this time, we're super serious."

      I agree with you about the Rhino, but don't count it out yet. Boeing has been busy marketing it and working on an updated "International Roadmap" version.

  2. Doug, you should get the data of the turn rates of the F-35, around 5 G!? I remember you posted a link to the article.

    Then ask:

    Will the F-35 need to be protected by air superiority fighters given its abysmal turn rate of 5 G, which is on the level of an F-4 and far inferior to any contemporary air superiority fighter.

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    2. Agility moot?! Never said anything alike. But, most modern fighter have helmet mounted displays - except for the F-22. So this won't give the F-35 an edge. The Mig-29 was fielded in 1985 with an HMD and a high off-boresight weapon (AA-11 Archer/R-73).

    3. It's kinda funny really... The F-22 has the agility and carries IR missiles standard, while the F-35 carries the IRST (EOTS) but doesn't have the same agility or internal WVR missiles.

      MInd you, an F-22 with AIM-9X and EOTS and HMD would be quite epic!

    4. Whoops. Actually, the F-35 is supposed to be able to carry ASRAAMs internally. So there is that.