Besides the Super Hornet and F-35, there are actually other options that Canada can consider looking into. However, not all of them are suited for the RCAF and in this article, we go through the possible options besides the Super Hornet and F-35. 
1. Saab JAS-39 Gripen

Brazil is currently the only export customer of the most advanced variant of the Gripen. The first flight of the Gripen E took place on the 15th of June 2017.

Country: Sweden

Price range: US$ 65 million and above (Gripen E/F). 

The Saab JAS-39 Gripen is one of the most affordable modern fighter aircraft in the world. Besides its affordability, the Saab machine sports a small airframe with a high level of performance. Capable of speeds of Mach 2 and having the ability to supercruise (only in E/F variant) and most importantly take off and land on unprepared short runways, the aircraft is idea for the RCAF. However, it is single engined and despite the safety record of the General Electric F414/404 engines, the possibility of engine failure cannot be ruled out. In all the Swedish fighter meets many major requirements except the area of redundancy (one engine). In the area of performance, it is by far better than aircraft the Super Hornet and CF-18 by a significant margin however, it loses out in the area of redundancy. 

The Saab Gripen is able to fire the latest MBDA Meteor BVRAAM. The Meteor is a beyond visual range missile with the latest propulsion technology. Definitely better than what the RCAF have, which is the AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-7 Sparrow.
The first Gripen E landing after a successful first flight.

2. Dassault Rafale

The Egyptian Air Force recently received its first three Dassault Rafale fighters.

Country: France

Price range: US$ 90 million and above

As we know that French is one of the country’s languages, the Rafale seems to be a good option for a change after such a long period of time using aircraft made from the United States. However, there are some incompatibilities here and there, especially with existing hardware like weapons. It is worth knowing that the French made multirole fighter cannot carry the famous AIM-9 Sidewinder heat seeking IR missile, which Canada has large numbers of it within its inventory. 

The RBE2 is a Passive Electronically Scanned Array Radar, which is more advanced than many of those (Mechanically Scanned) in today’s fighters. An AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) variant (RBE2-AA) will be in service soon.

3. Eurofighter Typhoon

Country: UK, Spain, Italy, Germany 

Price range: Around US$ 100 million or more. 

The Typhoon is currently in service with the air forces of Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Saudi Arabia and Oman.

The consortium (UK, Spain, Italy, Germany) made Eurofighter Typhoon is currently one of the most advanced multirole fighters in the world. It sports many advanced features and aerodynamics and is definitely a pleasure to fly. The cockpit and instrument panel is highly advanced, so does its titanium made airframe. The latest Tranche 3 variant will feature an AESA Radar as one of the many improvements to the aircraft. A possibility of adding conformal fuel tanks to improve range is on the cards. It has practically everything and meets the basic requirements of the RCAF, however it comes at an astronomical cost (both acquisition and operational). 

The Eurofighter Typhoon costs more than the Rafale, Gripen and Super Hornet to operate. It isn’t just the acquisition cost, but also the operational costs. Of course, it be a gamble that will ultimately pay off as the Typhoon is superior in aerodynamic performance than many of its counterpart including the Super Hornet. 
Eurofighter Typhoon mock-up with external Conformal Fuel Tanks (CFT). The CFTs will offer more range without compromising the overall performance of the aircraft.
The CFT equipped Typhoon undergoing wind tunnel tests as a scale model.
Something interesting. Canada might be the first customer of this aircraft ?

4. Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon

Recently, Lockheed Martin offered the Indian Air Force their latest F-16 as the former British colony look to replace their ageing MiG-21 and MiG-27 fleet.

The F-16 is indeed affordable and not just that, a proven design that is effective in combat and reliable. However, it is worth knowing that the aircraft is reaching the end of its growth and development. Also being single-engined, the Viper doesn’t fit the requirements of the RCAF. 

As we know, Lockheed Martin’s F-16 is a proven design, indeed a more proven than the Swedish made Gripen. Here’s the most advanced F-16 in the world , in service with the UAE Air Force. It is called the F-16E/F Block 60

5. Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle 

Boeing is offering an upgrade package for the F-15 which will see them be in service until at least 2040.

If you want to find out more about the F-15 and its latest news, check it out at the link given:

http://www.boeing.com/defense/f-15-eagle/

 F-15 Eagle , like the Fighting Falcon, has been around for at least three decades and has been in combat and has also proven to be a reliable design. However, it has also reached the end of its growth and development. On the other hand, the F-15s have been successful in the export market and some of the most advanced variants are operated outside the United States. Currently, the F-15SA of Saudi Arabia is the most advanced. 

Boeing F-15K Slam Eagle of the ROKAF.

6. Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor (Wildcard) 

The F-22 and F-35 will become the USAF’s new hi-lo mix of fighters.

Highly advanced, the F-22 became the first 5th generation fighter aircraft to enter service anywhere in the world. The Raptor is an quantum leap in fighter aircraft development as it sports stealthiness, advanced avionics and most importantly high aerodynamic performance. In theory, putting its astronomical cost aside, it fits the bill for the RCAF. The F-22 has two engines and the range and endurance to patrol the vast expanse of territory. It is also able to carry a decent payload (two AIM-9 Sidewinders and six AIM-120 AMRAAM) while being stealthy. However this can never happen because the Raptor is not available for export. But what if it is possible and the RCAF have them, it would be a massive upgrade in the Air Force’s capabilities. 

On 22 September 2014, F-22s performed the type’s first combat sorties during the American led intervention in Syria.

Written by Admin Maverick of Military Federation

Advertisements