Nixon believes that Canada has no need for a CF-18 replacement, citing that they are simply too expensive and "drones" should be used for asserting Canada's sovereignty and protecting against terrorist attacks. Any incursion by a foreign nation should be met with diplomacy.
The sovereignty of Canada’s airspace can be affirmed by any aerial vehicle carrying an official logo of Canada. A non-credible event of a rogue Russian scouting aircraft actually entering Canada’s airspace would be addressed by a diplomatic response.Let's ask Ukraine how that's working out...
Canada needs fighter jets. We may not need many, but we certainly need a few. Enough to police our own airspace, support our ground troops, as well as honor our NATO commitments. We can't do this with a few drones.
|RQ-4 Global Hawk|
As promising UCAVs (unmanned combat aerial vehicles) are, they are still nowhere near ready to replace manned aircraft. One of the biggest, most expensive UAVs out there right now, the RQ-4 Global Hawk, has now been slated to completely replace the U-2 Dragonlady as the USAF's spy plane. This hasn't exactly been heralded as a good thing, as the Global Hawk doesn't have near the capability of the U-2, and doesn't really have much cost savings.
For air policing, UCAVs are pretty much useless. While some have been outfitted with short range Stinger missiles, not a single one is capable of utilizing long range missiles like the AMRAAM. UCAVs are completely outclassed by even older, obsolete fighter jets.
Just check out the video:
I am not saying that UCAV's are pointless. Far from it. The fact of the matter is, however, right now they are best used as a supplement, not a replacement.
I am also not saying that Canada needs hundreds, or even thousands of top-of-the-line fighter aircraft. Just enough to do the job. To argue Canada doesn't need ANY fighter aircraft, however, is akin to making the argument that your house doesn't need a fire extinguisher. Most of us never had to use one, and if our house does catch on fire, the Fire Department is only a phone call away... Right?
Sometimes it's better to be safe than sorry.