Saturday, November 14, 2015

Canada in Iraq: 3 Airstrikes by RCAF near Ramadi against ISIS

As the world reacts to the ISIS attacks in Paris; it is comforting to know that coalition attacks were continuing yesterday in Iraq. Despite Friday's news that priority number one for the new Minister of Defence is to withdraw Canadian CF-18s from the fight - the RCAF was active again yesterday, and attacked three separate ISIS positions.

On 13 November 2015, while taking part in coalition airstrikes in support of Iraqi security forces operations to clear ISIS from Ramadi, two CF-18 Hornets successfully struck an ISIS compound and two separate ISIS fighting positions in the vicinity of Ramadi using precision guided munitions.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Minister of Procurement: Work on CF-18 Replacement and Shipbuilding for RCN and CCG

Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Judy Foote also received here marching orders from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today. Her three main focuses on the CAF and Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) 
  • Work with the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development to launch an open and transparent competition to replace the CF-18 fighter aircraft, focusing on options that match Canada’s defence needs.
  • Prioritize the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy to support renewal of the Canadian Coast Guard fleet and to ensure the Royal Canadian Navy is able to operate as a true blue-water maritime force.
  • Modernize procurement practices so that they are simpler, less administratively burdensome, deploy modern comptrollership, and include practices that support our economic policy goals, including green and social procurement.

Defence Minister's Marching Orders - Top Priority: End RCAF Operations in Iraq and Syria

Written by The Canadian Press, published by CBCNews

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has given new defence minister his marching orders — and Harjitt Sajjan's top priority is to end Canada's combat mission in Iraq and Syria.

The Nov. 6 letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Canadian Press, was also notable for what it didn't say in terms of the other thorny issues facing the new Liberal government.

Sajjan was told to work with Public Services and Procurement Minister Judy Foote on an "open and transparent" competition to replace Canada's CF-18 fighter jets, but the letter makes no reference to excluding the F-35 — something Trudeau promised during the election.

The letter also makes no reference to overhauling National Defence along the lines of retired lieutenant-general — now Liberal MP — Andrew Leslie's transformation report.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has given his cabinet ministers their marching orders. Each new minister received a mandate letter outlining their priorities and duties today. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

Implementing everything in that report, which aimed to give defence less administrative tail and more operational teeth, was also a Liberal promise.

The letter does flesh out what the Liberals have in mind when it comes to re-engaging in United Nations peacekeeping.

The Trudeau government is prepared to make available "Canada's specialized capabilities — from mobile medical teams, to engineering support, to aircraft that can carry supplies and personnel — on a case by case basis."

Sajjan will also be expected to co-ordinate with Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion to help the United Nations "respond more quickly to emerging and escalating conflicts and providing well-trained personnel to international initiatives that can be quickly deployed, such as mission commanders, staff officers and headquarters units."

Canada in Iraq: RCAF Targets ISIS in Fight to retake Sinjar

While Justin Trudeau said that plans for the RCAF's withdrawal from the Air campaign in Iraq will be available in the coming weeks; the RCAF was part of the wider coalition fight to retake Sinjar, Iraq from ISIS. CF-18's struck two ISIS positions in the fight yesterday.

Map of Offensive from CCTV America (Not an endorsement of CCTV on the part of this webpage) 
In a release from DND, on 12 November 2015, while taking part in coalition airstrikes in support of Iraqi security forces and Kurdish Forces operations to clear ISIS from Sinjar and seize portions of a significant ISIS supply route between Ar Raqqah, Syria, and Mosul, Iraq, two CF-18 Hornets successfully struck an ISIS ammunition cache in the vicinity of Sinjar and an ISIS fighting position in the vicinity of Tal Afar using precision guided munitions.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Project Resolve: iAOR to Provide Strategic Humanitarran Assistance and Disaster Relief

News Release from Project Resolve
As failed states, conflict, natural disasters, famine and epidemics continue to plague the globe, Canada will increasingly be called upon to render Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) to those affected.

The Resolve-Class Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment ship will play a key role in the Royal Canadian Navy’s HADR efforts from 2017. While the primary role of the Resolve-Class AOR is to conduct underway replenishment for the Canadian Task Group and other allied warships, a significant number of design elements have been incorporated into the ship’s design to support the HADR mission.
An Artists Rendition of the iAOR Asterix aiding in a Rescue at Sea
The specific HADR capabilities include:

• A humanitarian processing area for triage and care of evacuees/survivors
• A large medical facility for up to 60 patients in two separate wards
• Emergency accommodation for up to 350 people (in addition to the ship’s current 150 persons capacity)
• A ship-shore airlift capability via the two embarked Cyclone CH-148 helicopters
• A significant small craft capability that includes up to 8 boats with quick launch and recovery capabilities
• The ability to sustain the delivery over 400t/day of Fresh Water and up to 7000t of Fuel Oil, as well as significant power
• The transportation and self-sufficient loading and unloading of light vehicles, sea containers and general cargo that are essential for HADR missions.

Spencer Fraser, CEO of Project Resolve today commented “We are extremely proud to be able to fill the current gap and provide Canada with a strategically enabling naval asset for HADR missions. We incorporated HADR requirements into the ship’s design from the very start and we are confident that the ship and its Canadian crew will successfully meet the Government of Canada’s goals of providing effective and responsive humanitarian and disaster assistance where and when called upon.”

UN Planning on Deploying Peacekeepers to Burundi

One of Justin Trudeau's promises during the election was that he would return Canada to the Peacekeeping table. There has been no indication that Western Nations will be asked to contribute to the proposed mission in Burundi, but will Canada volunteer to be part of one? It would mean returning to the region where Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Romeo Dallaire commanded the UN Mission in Rwanda during the 1994-95 genocide; to help prevent another possible genocide. One that could include the same ethic groups from the 1994-95 conflict.

Below written by AFP; 

UN officials are making plans to rush peacekeepers from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Burundi if violence spirals out of control there, diplomats said Wednesday.

The deployment is one of several options being drawn up by the United Nations peacekeeping department to prevent Burundi from descending into Rwanda-style mass killings.

"One option is to get MONUSCO troops from the DRC across the border into Burundi," said a Security Council diplomat, who asked not to be identified.

The 20,000-strong MONUSCO force in the Democratic Republic of Congo is backed up by a rapid-reaction brigade made up of elite troops from South Africa, Malawi and Tanzania that could also be deployed, he said.

The plans are being drawn up as the UN Security Council is poised to vote, possibly as early as Thursday, on a French-drafted resolution condemning the violence and threatening sanctions against leaders who incite attacks.

The draft resolution requests that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon present options to the council within 15 days on actions that could be taken to thwart the violence.

Burundi has been rocked by killings, torture and illegal detentions since President Pierre Nkurunziza launched a controversial bid to prolong his term in office in April.

At least 240 people have been killed and more than 200,000 Burundians have fled the country.


The deployment of a UN force in Burundi would require the approval of Bujumbura authorities or a decision from the Security Council under a chapter 7 resolution, which authorizes the use of force.

Another option under consideration is the deployment of an African Union force made up of troops from regional countries.

"The use of MONUSCO assets and personnel has been mentioned as one possible option," said a UN spokesman for peacekeeping.

"While this is ultimately a matter for the Security Council to decide, a regional coalition would be well-placed to provide a rapid and credible response if the situation in Burundi worsens," he added.

International alarm over the crisis in Burundi has been mounting after repeated appeals to Nkurunziza to enter into a dialogue with the opposition fell on deaf ears.

Diplomats have also raised concerns about Rwanda becoming embroiled in the conflict after President Paul Kagame accused Burundi's leaders of carrying out "massacres" on their people.

British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, whose country holds the council presidency this month, said negotiations on the draft resolution were progressing "very rapidly" and that a vote was likely soon.

"The Security Council has come together in the course of this week to ensure we do everything possible to increase the pressure on the authorities in Bujumbura and warn against the dangers of mass atrocities," Rycroft told reporters.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Canada in Iraq: No Timeline for Air Task Force Iraq

So while the Liberal Government promised to end Canada's participation in the Coalition bombings of ISIS in Iraq and Syria - no timeline has been set. 

Written by CTVNews 
According to Canada’s top soldier says a timeline has not yet been set for the promised withdrawal of Canadian troops from the bombing mission against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

“We’re certainly working on it and all those details will come,” Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance told reporters at the Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa on Wednesday.

Vance said he has discussed troop withdrawal with the new Liberal government. He said he has provided “confidential” advice to the cabinet and is “not in a position to share” details of those discussions. 
Jonathan Vance
Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan and General Jonathan Vance at the Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, ON. Photo: Canadian Press Adrian Wyld
Ending Canada’s participation in the combat mission against ISIS was one of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s election campaign promises.

Trudeau has said that Canada would still be engaged “in a responsible way,” likely in a training capacity to improve local troops’ ability to fight ISIS.

After he was elected, Trudeau said he told U.S. President Barack Obama in their first telephone conversation that he would be pulling Canadian troops from the combat mission.

Canada’s contribution to the fight against ISIS includes six CF-18 Hornet fighter jets, two Aurora surveillance planes and approximately 600 Canadian Armed Forces personnel.

As of Nov. 8, the Canadian troops have conducted more than 1,700 sorties – or operational flights – over Iraq since the mission began more than a year ago.

Remembrance Day Ceremony

On This Remembrance Day - Take the time to remember those who helped protect our values, and gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. 

This was the script I created for our service at school. If you need something for a later ceremony. Please use this, with my permission. The prayers from from the Canadian Armed Forces Chalpaincy Manual.



Good morning. We come together today to remember in faith all who have served, and continue to serve in our armed forces, and especially those who have died and were wounded in battle. We also pray for healing and lasting peace; that one day, all peoples will lay down their arms and embrace one another as brothers and sisters in one human family.



Let us begin with an opening prayer: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Lord God, you fashioned each of us in your divine image and likeness, to live in the communion you share as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Be with us as we reflect and pray this morning. May this gathering, together with Remembrance Day thoughts and prayers everywhere, help move our world one step closer to the peace of your Kingdom. We make this prayer to you through Jesus Christ,




Each and every year, we come together on November 11 to show our respect for those that have come and gone. We wear a poppy to show our support. Each and every year and say, “Lest We Forget.” But what does that truly mean?

It means we must never forget the past, and the sacrifices that were made to bring us to where we are today. This means we must remember the nearly 104,000 Canadians who gave the ultimate sacrifice for this country; the close to 230,000 who were wounded, and the countless veterans who struggle with non physical wounds each and everyday.


This past year marked a number of significant anniversaries and milestones in our country's military heritage. Such occasions are commemorated to ensure the sacrifices and achievements of those who served in times of war, military conflict and in peace support operations are recognized within the social context of the personal freedoms enjoyed by all Canadians in today's society.

This year marked:

  • The 100th Anniversary of the 2nd Battle of Ypres, where Canadians faced the first use of poison gas in war
  • The 100th Anniversary of the Writing of the poem In Flanders Fields,
  • The 100th Anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign
  • The 70th Anniversary of the End of World War Two;
  • and The 65th Anniversary of the Beginning of the Korean War.


The act of remembrance is not merely ceremonial. At it’s core, remembrance requires action. It carries the promise that we will learn from our mistakes. By ensuring that we remember the past, we can help make a better and brighter future possible. So today, as we remember our fallen, we must remember that they fought for a better world; one free of evil. They sacrificed their lives in hopes that tyranny in this world would end.

In the words of Rudyard Kipling;

God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung battle-line,
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Highway of Heroes - MP3 - 4 Mins (Play perhaps 2 min of song)


Now a reading of the poem which celebrates its 100th Anniversary this year, written by John McCrea, in May of 1915 near Ypres, Belgium.


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


Following the Last Post - Let us pause for two minutes of silence as we remember all who have served to help bring peace to our world and God’s promise of peace.

LAST POST - MP3 - 1 Min 30 sec.
ROUSE - MP3 - 30 seconds



They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.



O God our Father, we thank you for those valiant hearts, who at the call of Sovereign and country laid down their lives in the cause of freedom. we pray that we may uphold the torch entrusted to us so that their sacrifice may not have been in vain. Unite all the peace loving peoples of our world in one holy purpose to defence the principles of freedom for which these valiant hearts lived and died. Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me. In the name of the great Prince of peace, we pray.

O' Canada - MP3 - 1 Min 12 sec.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Rafale For RCAF - it Outperforms the F/A-18

Yesterday I published a repost by Doug Allan of bestfighter4canada showing that the Dassault Rafale is a better aircraft that the JSF F-35.

A few people pointed out that the comparison should be between the Rafale and the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet - widely thought to be the front runner in the CF-18 Replacement. I disagree - and think the Rafale should be the front runner - especially as they can be built in Canada.

My biggest argument here is that the Super Hornet, while more modern than the standard Hornet is still outdated and based on late 1970s early 1980s designs and ideas. Why replace our CF-18s with slightly newer models of CF-18s?

Here now is another comparison by Doug Allan; this time between the Rafale and the Super Hornet - I'll provide you with a spoiler - the Rafale outperforms the F/A-18 Super Hornet. The only way the Hornet wins is if it is the EA-18 Growler variant is used - which Canada is not looking at buying.

Image of Dassault RafaleImage of Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet

Interdiction/Penetration: While not a stealth aircraft per se, the Rafale does have a lower radar signature than older "4th generation" fighters like the F-18 or legacy F/A-18. This is an added benefit to using nonmetallic composites in much of its construction. Some other "tricks", like burying the engine inlets and mild reshipping of the fuselage also help reduce radar signature. Much has been said about the Rafale's SPECTRA electronic warfare suite, capable of detecting hostile threats and either jamming enemy radar or deploying decoys and countermeasures.

The Super Hornet, while larger than older F/A-18 Hornets, offers a much reduced radar cross section. (RCS). Like the Rafale, this is done through increased use of composite construction, as well as paying close attention to body panel alignment as well as the engine inlet design. Like the Rafale, the Super Hornet carries an impressive electronic warfare suite. If the EA-18G Growler variant of the F/A-18 is considered, the Rhino wins this portion easily. The near single purpose Growler, equipped with powerful ALQ-99 ECM jamming pods and ALQ-218 tactical jamming receivers is custom made for seeking out ground based threats and eliminating them. Since the Growler is a single-purpose electronic attack aircraft, with only self-defense air-to-air capabilities, it is considered disqualified from FJFC for comparison purposes.

Since both aircraft have similar RCS combined with similar electronic warfare suites, there is little choice but to declare this one a draw. Advantage: Tie... Unless you count the EA-18G Growler.

Deep Strike: Both aircraft have similar combat radii, and any significant differences in ferry ranges or the like may benefit the Rafale based on using figures from the ground based Rafale C instead of the carrier based Rafale M. Both aircraft are capable of mounting up to five external fuel tanks. Dassault and Boeing have both studied the potential of adding CFT capability as well. Whatever the case, both aircraft can be described as having more than sufficient range.

With both aircraft being more or less tied for range, we have to look at their long range air-to-ground weaponry. Namely, stand-off missiles, also know as ALCMs. The Rafale equips the impressive SCALP EG (also known as the Storm Shadow) missile, which can deliver a 450kg warhead about 500km away. The Super Hornet's new AGM-158 JASSM-ER (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile - Extended Range) delivers a similar sized warhead, but can do so at roughly twice the range. This give the Rhino a significant advantage here.
Advantage: Super Hornet

Payload: French Air Force versions of the Rafale have a remarkable 14 hard points capable of handling 20,900lbs of ordinance. Of these, four (two wingtip, two flush with the rear fuselage) are usually dedicated to air-to-air missiles, leaving 10 hard points for fuel, bombs, or air-to-ground missiles. The Rafale is capable of handling nuclear ordinance as well.

The Super Hornet is capable of handling a slightly lower, but still impressive 17,750lbs worth of weapons. It is slightly more limited in how it carries it however, with only 11 total hard points, including two wingtip missile rails and two conformal hard points built for the AIM-120 AMRAAM.

With more payload capability combined with additional hard point options, the Rafale wins this round. Advantage: Rafale

Close-air-support: The Rafale and the Super Hornet are both easy to handle at lower speeds and altitudes. As carrier capable aircraft, they have to be. Picking a winner here is difficult, as both aircraft have similar weapon capability, but without a "killer app" like the Brimstone missile. The Rafale might have Brimstone capability in the future, but nothing is certain at the present. What the Rafale does have is the option to equip both rocket pods and a twin 30mm gun pod to supplement its built in 30mm GIAT 30 cannon.

The Super Hornet's most impressive weapon in the close-air-support arsenal is the precision SDB II (Small Diameter Bomb) which carries a 250lb warhead for minimal collateral damage.

With both fighters being incredibly competent for close-air-support, this one ends up as a draw. Advantage: Tie

Air-to-ground winner: Tie Both aircraft are more than capable ground pounders, with only minor differences in maximum payload and weapon types.

[Note: In the Super Hornet's last FJFC appearance, it lost some points due to a lack of a built-in IRST. As some have mentioned, there is a combination IRST/external fuel tank being tested. I have decided to include it here, and will continue to do so in the future. Its presence against the F-35 would likely have made a little difference (the Rhino won the WVR section, where IRSTs work best), but the outcome would have likely been the same.]

First-look, first-kill: Again, these different-looking fighters have remarkably similar capability. Both have similarly sized AESA radars and, with the F/A-18E/F's fuel tank/IRST in place, both aircraft have modern IRSTs. Neither aircraft is truly "stealth" but both have reduced radar signatures compared to older fighters.

Comparing the aircraft's EW and countermeasures pose a similar challenge. The Rafale has its famous SPECTRA, which looks to become more impressive in the future. Two infra-red sensors on either side of the tail fin will give the Rafale pilot a near 360 degree view of the airspace. Not to be outdone, Boeing is contemplating installing the EA-18G's sensors (but not jammers) on the Super Hornet. This would enable the Super Hornet pilot to detect radio emissions not normally detected.

Neither fighter has a clear advantage in detection or stealth. There may be significantly different details, but not enough for me to declare one superior to the other. Advantage: Tie

Beyond-Visual-Range: While both aircraft have a theoretical top speed of Mach 1.8, the Rafale is faster where it counts. Capable of supercruise, the Rafale is just as comfortable going supersonic as is it is subsonic. It that was not enough, the Super Hornet gets considerably draggy when weapons and fuel tanks are mounted. Both aircraft have similar service ceilings, but the Rafale has a much higher rate of climb and can get there much faster. If both aircraft are considered to have similar BVR missiles, than the Rafale has a clear advantage by being able to add more energy to them through speed and altitude.

Then, there is the real kicker. The Rafale will soon be cleared for the MBDA Meteor, while the Super Hornet will stick with the AMRAAM for the foreseeable future. While one could argue about the effectiveness of both missiles' guidance systems and the like, the big difference here is the Meteor's ramjet engine. While the ranges might be listed as similar, the Meteor's ramjet gives it more flexibility and a much larger "no-escape-zone".

Even without the MBDA Meteor, the Rafale has a clear advantage in long-range combat. It is faster and it climbs better. In air combat, speed + altitude = energy, and energy is life. Advantage: Rafale, clear winner

Within-visual-range: Assuming both aircraft have IRSTs and decent WVR missiles, like the AIM-9X Sidewinder or the MBDA MICA IR, this one gets a little tougher to call. The Rafale is the acrobat of the two, with better wing loading numbers, a higher thrust-to-weight, and higher g-load numbers. To put it quite simply, it is more agile than the Rhino.

Good thing for the F/A-18E/F that it has its vaunted "nose authority". This enables it to conduct high AoA (angle of attack) maneuvers and point its missiles where they need to go. Thanks to its helmet-mounted-display, the Super Hornet doesn't need to be as agile, however. If the pilot can see it, it can be shot. This is the one area that always seems to haunt the Rafale, while an HMD has been tested for it, there has yet to be any firm plans.

If the Rafale had an HMD, it would run away with this. That being said, shooting a HOBS (high-off foresight) missile to the side or even behind an aircraft to its intended target is certainly impressive, but not ideal. This is a tough one to call, (and I'm sure some will disagree) but I have to declare this one a draw. The Rhino has the better aim, but the Rafale is the tougher target. Advantage: Tie (if only the Rafale had an HMD!)

Dogfight: When the missiles are gone and the gloves come off, which aircraft is left standing? Both aircraft do quite well in the low speed/low altitude/high-AoA regime. The Rafale's close-coupled canard design helps put more air over the big delta wings, producing more lift. The Super Hornet's twin canted tails and trapezoidal wings help it perform seemingly gravity defying maneuvers.

With low-speed maneuverability pretty much a dead heat, the dogfight winner will likely be the one able to bring the bigger boom. Here, the Super Hornet is let down somewhat by its venerable M61 20mm Vulcan cannon. While there is nothing wrong with the M61 per se, it does take a few moments to get up to its 6,000 rounds per minute firing rate. In reality, its true firing rate is much closer to the 2,500 rounds per minute of the Rafale's GIAT 30. There is also the not-so-insignificant difference in calibre. With similar muzzle velocities, the Rafale's 30mm cannon wins this one. The Super Hornet may carry more ammunition, but it is easy to imagine which Dirty Harry would prefer.

Both aircraft are excellent gunfighters. Knowing that, I would put my money on the one with the bigger gun. Advantage: Rafale

Air-to-air winner: The Boeing Super Hornet was originally intended to replace both the F-14 Tomcat and the A-6 Intruder. Clearly, some air-to-air compromise needed to be made, but the developers seem to have erred more towards the ground attack role. While the Super Hornet is an acceptable air-superiority fighter, it does not have the same balanced approach as the Rafale. As France's sole front line fighter, the Rafale cannot have any glaring weaknesses. It succeeds in this regard with the exception of one minor detail, a HMD. Even without the HMD, the Rafale is fast enough, agile enough, and powerful enough to handle the Super Hornet. Winner: Rafale

Versatility: The Rafale is marketed as an "Omnirole" fighter, and with good reason. It seems to be equally adept at either the strike or air-superiority roles. While other fighters may be better at one role or the other, the Rafale is possibly the most balanced solution out there. With the carrier capable Rafale M, alongside a choice of either single-seat or two-seat versions, the Rafale can handle just about any role given to it.

Take a look at the United States Navy, however and you will notice that they currently operating a strictly "Hornet only" fighter fleet. While some air-superiorty capability was lost with the retirement of the F-14, the USN has made do. In fact, with the legacy Hornet F/A-18C/D, Super Hornet F/A-18E/F, and the EA-18G Growler, the USN is quite happy, thank you. Senior USN brass have even gone on the records stating that they could cope just fine with a Super Hornet/Growler fleet if the F-35C does not pan out. The prospect of an "Advanced Super Hornet" with CFT's, enclosed weapon pods, and upgraded engines is being looked at with great interest. Even without future improvements, the Super Hornet and Growler provide a great "one-two-punch" for the USN. The Growler variant offering a EW/ECM capability seen nowhere else in the world.

The Rafale is a great single-type solution, but the Growler variant of the Super Hornet makes up for any faults the F/A-18E/F has as an air-superiority fighter. Advantage: Tie

Logistics: With a carrier version available, the Rafale should have no problem adapting to rough landing strips or the like. It fuels up using the "probe-and-drogue" aerial refueling system, much like Canada's current CF-18s. In all, the Rafale would be an easy aircraft to live with... If you do not mind your parts and weapons supply coming strictly from France.

The Super Hornet can go anywhere and do just about anything the CF-18 does. It is slightly larger, but other that that its logistics are the same, if not better. It uses standard American NATO weaponry. Considering that the USN operate the Super Hornet all over the world, it is pretty soon that wherever you are, parts can be made available. Advantage: Super Hornet

Versatility/Logistics winner: Both aircraft are excellent workhorse, capable of performing whatever role thrown at them. The Rafale is a better air-superiority fighter, but the existence of the EA-18G Growler easily remedies this. Any military committed to the Super Hornet should take advantage of the commonality with the Growler, much like Australia has. What really wins this for the Super Hornet is its use with the USN and the existing support for the aircraft. Winner: Super Hornet

Final Score:
Air-to-Ground: Rafale=3 - Super Hornet=3 (4 if you count the Growler)
Air-to-Air: Rafale=4 - Super Hornet=2
Versatility/Logistics: Rafale=1 - Super Hornet =2

Final Result: Rafale=8 - Super Hornet=7 (8 if you count the Growler)

Even with the Growler, I am declaring a win for the Rafale. Since the emphasis on which is the best fighter, air-to-air capability acts as a tie breaker whenever possible.

Both aircraft are excellent "Jack-of-all-trades" aircraft, with the Rafale coming out slightly ahead due to its stronger emphasis on air-superiorty without sacrificing the strike role. The Rafale would have likely done even better with the addition of an HMD.

Since the topic of price is bound to come up... Yes, the Super Hornet is indeed a cheaper aircraft. (Because it is the older aircraft)  As I have said before, it is likely the "safest" replacement for Canada's CF-18, but it lacks some of the other options' capabilities.

The Rafale on the other hand, would be a fantastic selection with only three simple stipulations: 1) HMD installation. 2) Standard NATO weapon integration. 3) Canadian manufacturing and intellectual rights.

CAF Can House 12,000 Refugees

Published by CTVNews November 9, 2015.

The Canadian military is already prepared to house 12,000 Syrian refugees -- nearly half of the 25,000 that the Liberal government has promised to bring to the country -- by the end of the year, CTV News has learned.

Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jon Vance ordered a review weeks ago so that the military could hit the ground running in case the government asked for his support.

Refugees could be housed in cadet summer camps and military training bases.
A View o CFB Valcartier, Qc Army Cadet (although it houses Navy and Air As well) Summer Training Centre. This camp houses 3,500 cadets at a time

"We've got the whole network of bases across Canada -- probably, though I’m just guessing at this stage of the game -- it could probably come back to (Canadian Forces Base) Trenton, where they could be processed and distributed out," said retired Major General David Fraser.

Earlier on Monday, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister John McCallum announced that a cabinet sub-committee has been tasked with bringing the Liberals’ goal to fruition.

The chair of the sub-committee will be Health Minister Jane Philpott. Other members include Heritage Minister Melanie Joly, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion and Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef.

McCallum said each sub-committee member has a portfolio that touches on the refugee issue. He singled out Philpott, who has worked with refugees in Africa, and Monsef, who was herself a refugee from Afghanistan.

McCallum said the Liberal government is still committed to bringing the refugees in by the end of the year, but wants to do it “correctly.”

In a statement, NDP MP Jenny Kwan said her party "supports" the Liberals’ goal, but believes that McCallum's announcement was "short on details."

"We believe Canadians were looking for a concrete plan for getting vulnerable refugees out of harm's way, not hearing about new cabinet subcommittees," she said.

"This is the new government's first test on delivering the change they promised to Canadians. We hope that the next announcement on how they will achieve this goal is coming very soon."

McCallum said that Ottawa is relying on support from provinces, territories and municipalities, as well as groups and individuals who want to support refugees to accomplish its goal.

“As long as we do the job right, that is to say with speed but also with due attention to important considerations of health and security,” he said He acknowledged “time is limited” for the government to meet its goal, but said he will have a more detailed announcement “soon.”

In an appearance on CTV's Power Play on Monday, immigration lawyer Jennifer Bond said she believes the refugee target can be achieved and that so far the Liberals have taken the right steps forward.

"I think we should feel confident that a lot of senior people have been put on this portfolio, today's subcommittee is filled with people who have both good portfolios to be at the table but also a lot of good individual personal experiences," she said.

"We need to move quickly and I'm very hopeful that today's announcement is not a stall tactic, but actually a real commitment to actually work together to make this happen."

Bond added that refugees are "dying every single day and the increasing numbers of people are dying as conditions worsen overseas."

"As Canadians we can't only cry over the children that have died but we really have to do what we can do to help those that are still at risk, and I think that's where we’re heading," said Bond, who is also behind the University of Ottawa's Refugee Sponsorship Support Program.

Former Canadian ambassador to Syria Glenn Davidson, who also appeared on Power Play, agreed with Bond's assessment, saying that there's "no question (Canada) can handle" 25,000 refugees.

"I think that the steps that the government is taking -- that minister McCallum announced today -- are exactly right," he said.

"Put the focus of this new team firmly on this, put the resources behind it and move aggressively to make it happen."

When asked how the refugees will travel to Canada, McCallum said that “every option is on the table.”

He said involving the Royal Canadian Air Force, commercial planes, as well as ships, are possibilities.

"We would do what is the most efficient, cost-effective quick way to get those people here, and then we have to welcome them, and we have to accommodate and we have to help them settle into Canada," he said.

However, the air force likely won't have as large of a role as commercial airliners because of its limited capacity.

Air Canada has already offered to help the government transport Syrian refugees “to the fullest extent possible.” A company spokesperson told CTV News that the airline has so far only exchanged “preliminary information” with Ottawa.

McCallum said the government now has to figure out the fastest, most secure and cost-effective way to bring Syrian refugees from other countries that have taken them in. He said Ottawa will focus on Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.

“We have to clearly liaise with the governments of those countries and with the United Nations.”

McCallum said the government has already deployed "dozens of additional immigration officials" to the region to handle the incoming case load.

Treasury Board President Scott Brison, who is also on the refugee sub-committee, will examine the related costs, McCallum said.

The exact cost of the mission has yet to be determined because all the "variables" have yet to be sorted out, but McCallum said it is going to cost a "penny or two."

"We've put aside some money in our platform for this, but it is not going to be cheap to bring 25,000 people to country and help them settle," he said.

"Don't forget these people come from the most dire of circumstances … this is probably the worst refugee crisis in decades," McCallum added.

The government will also have to find accommodations for all the refugees once they arrive. McCallum said that Canadian military bases are “one possibility” in the "short run," but working with provincial governments, as well as municipalities, non-governmental organizations and will be key.

McCallum said many groups, including the Syrian community, and individuals across the country have also offered to take in refugees.

McCallum said he also hopes to have refugee health care reinstated in line with the same end-of-year deadline.

"I don’t control the parliamentary calendar, and we will not have very much time before Christmas. But I certainly am hoping very much this will be the case," he said.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Rafale Should be Next Fighter for RCAF

I would like to first give credit to Doug Allan of bestfighter4canada for his assessment here for the Dassault Rafale compared to the JSF F-35.

Many people claim that Canada should remain in the F-35 program despite the promise by Justin Trudeau to withdraw from the program. They say that the F-35 is a far better aircraft that any out there. Well that is just not the case. In a direct comparison to the Dassault Rafale, which better meets Canada's needs for a fighter jet - the Rafale clearly has an edge - despite it's lack of stealth.

Not only is the Rafale cheaper than the JSF F-35; it is faster; flies higher; has a larger operational radius than the F-35; and it has dual engines. Just a few reasons why the Rafale should be the RCAF's next fighter.

Oh, and a bonus - Dassault says it will allow the majority of the order to be built in Canada.

Now onto the comparison.


Interdiction/Penetration: The Rafale's SPECTRA suite has gained notoriety for being one of the best EW suites available. Given that benchmarks for these sort of things are classified, and not available to a part-time blogger like myself, I cannot say just how good it is. There is a good chance it is the next best thing to a purpose built stealth aircraft.

The F-35 is a purpose built stealth aircraft, however. There may be some debate over whether it offers sufficient protection against current and future threats, but the truth is that the JSF is currently the stealthiest aircraft available. This may change in the future, but right now the F-35 is the best choice for sneaking past enemy ground radar. Advantage: F-35

Deep strike: Well... This one is easy. Both aircraft have a similar combat radius and ferry range using internal fuel only. So it simply comes down to which one can carry more external fuel.

The Rafale can carry massive amounts of fuel in external drop tanks. It can also be utilized for "buddy" refueling. If that was not enough, every Rafale has the plumbing to mount CFTs, which have been tested but not implemented.

As of now, the F-35 has no external fuel tanks. Some concepts exist, but problems with separation have pushed external tank capability back indefinitely. The JSF will carry the AGM-158 JASSM-ER, but that missile's extra range cannot make up the difference from having no external fuel options. Advantage: Rafale

Payload: The Rafale makes for an impressive bomber, able to carry over 20,000lbs of ordinance on 14 hardpoints. While its not a bomber per se, it certainly comes close.

The F-35 has only 10 hardpoints and carries one ton less than the Rafale. The JSF also has the limitation of its internal weapon bays. While those bays are necessary for stealth, their size limits the type of weapon that can be mounted inside. Anything longer, wider, or heavier than a 2,000lb JDAM will have to step outside.

This one goes to the French. The Rafale offers nearly the same ground-pounding capabilities as the much larger (and more expensive) F-15E Strike Eagle. Advantage: Rafale

Close air support: The F-35 is destined to replace the A-10 its iconic role. Not many are buying that. It is simply too fragile an aircraft and it burns through its fuel too fast to spend any time on station. To its credit, its EOTS acts as a built-in targeting pod and it will be outfitted with MBDA Brimstone missiles. This means it will likely be able to take out a few targets as it zips buy. 25mm cannons will be built into the A model, and available in external pods in the B and C model.

While it currently lacks a low collateral damage weapon like the Brimstone, the Rafale still gets by okay. Its airframe is more durable than the JSF, has twin-engine redundancy, and it does quite well flying low and slow, thanks to its carrier-friendly design. While it has a 30mm cannon like the A-10, it is not the same weapon and it carries far less ammo (125 rounds).

If the Rafale had Brimstone missile (or similar) capability it would get an easy win here. Even still, its ability to loiter more with external tanks give it a slight advantage. A Rafale pilot is also far more likely to fly closer to the battlefield, confident that a stray bullet will not bring the fighter down. Advantage: Rafale

Air-to-ground winner: Rafale. While the F-35 may do a fine job at slipping through enemy defenses, the Rafale does a better job at just about everything else when it comes to ground attack. It flies further, can carry more bombs, and its more likely to mix it up with the troops.


First look, first kill: The JSF is being marketed with a massive emphasis on its ability "see" everything around it without being detected itself. With an advanced AESA radar, EOTS, and DAS (which replicates IRST) the F-35 certainly will be able to get a good look at what is around it.

While the Rafale lacks the F-35's stealth, but it has a similarly sized AESA radar and a IRST. Part of its SPECTRA suite puts IR sensors high up on both sides of the tail, giving a similar "god's eye view".

The Rafale is certainly good in this department, but the F-35 is just as good if not better, plus it has its stealthy design. Advantage: F-35

Beyond Visual Range: The F-35 pilot better hope it gets a successful sneak attack in, because after that first shot, all bets are off. The Rafale is not just faster in a straight line dash, but it climbs faster and cruises faster as well. On top of that, it will carry the ramjet powered Meteor BVR missiles, which look to be superior to the F-35's AMRAAMs.

Unfortunately for the F-35, it may not even get the chance for that sneak attack. It would likely have to enter into the Rafale's passive sensor range before it gets a clear shot. Its stealth may keep it safer from radar, but not much can be done to shield its big, hot engine.

The Rafale's better high speed performance and better BVR missile make it the easy pick here. Advantage: Rafale

Within Visual Range: By now most have realized my disappointment with the Rafale's current lack of HMD. One has been tested, but it has yet to go operational with one. HMD's really do help a fighter's WVR capability when combined with HOBS missiles. Despite all this, the Rafale is still a very good WVR fighter, with impressive maneuverability, thrust-to-weight, and the ability to fire HOBS missiles with the help of data links and LOAL (lock on after launch capability).
While the F-35 has excellent HOBS potential thanks to its various sensors, it misses the mark somewhat with its disappointing wing loading and thrust to weight numbers. This alone is not enough to delegate it to second-rate WVR status. What does is the fact the F-35 cannot carry an internally mounted WVR weapon. Plans to carry the ASRAAM internally have been shelved. Any F-35 in "stealth" configuration will have to rely strictly on 2 to 4 AMRAAMs.

This is really an "either/or" scenario. If the Rafale had an HMD, it wins. If the F-35 is carrying external WVR missiles, it wins. If we give a "best case scenario" for both aircraft (HMD for the Rafale and WVR missiles for the F-35), then the Rafale wins based on its superior maneuverability and thrust-to-weight ratio. Advantage: Rafale

Dogfight: Thanks to its close-coupled canard design, the Rafale is just as happy playing it low and slow as it is supercruising. It has plenty of thrust and a big gun. No problems here.

The F-35... Notsomuch. While the F-35 said to match the low speed performance of the F/A-18, there are still concerns about its fragility and its lack of cockpit visibility.

If the JSF pilot finds themselves in a dogfight... They are going to have a bad time. Advantage: Rafale

Air-to-air winner: Rafale. The supercruising, Meteor slinging, tighter turning Rafale gets a clear win here. The F-35 will need to rely on guile and sneak attacks, a tall order given the Rafale's excellent sensors and defensive capabilities.


Versatility: Hoo boy... Both of these fighters were designed as "all-in-one" systems capable of fulfilling all of your fighter needs... With a few caveats.

The Rafale has three different flavors available. A single-seat CTOL air force variant, a two-seat CTOL variant, and a single-seat naval variant capable of CATOBAR operations. All versions carry similar weapon loads, with the naval Rafale M sacrificing a weapon pylon.

The Joint Strike Fighter has three versions, the CTOL capable F-35A, the STOVL F-35B, and the CATOBAR F-35C. Sadly, no two-seater versions are available.

So which one is more versatile? If you need a STOVL, then the F-35 is the way to go. Otherwise, a two-seater version may be preferable for both training and high workload tasks. I'm going to give this one to the Rafale since STOVL operations are ratherlimited in real-world usefulness. Advantage: Rafale

Logistics: Long term support is where these two aircraft differ the most. The Rafale is completely single sourced. It is currently in use by a single nation with maybe a second coming soon. Parts and maintenance could be an issue, but Dassault is willing to grant complete access to the Rafale's software and intellectual property. Customer nations have the option of producing any and all spare parts and modifying the software as they see fit.

The F-35 is the polar opposite of this. Parts should be plentiful with JSF squadrons located all over the world. The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin are keeping close tabs on F-35's hardware and software, however. Any modifications to the JSF's hardware or software has to be done through them. This is like taking your laptop back to where you bought it in order to add an external hard drive or to install a new app. Something as simple (yet necessary) as a drag chute might have to wait until Lockheed Martin gets around to it.

Both aircraft have their advantages and disadvantages here. Advantage: Tie

Versatility/Logistics winner: Rafale. It is close, but the availability of a two-seat Rafale gives it a slight edge here.

Final result:

Air-to-ground: F-35 = 1 - Rafale = 3

Air-to-air: F-35 = 1 - Rafale = 3

Versatility/Logistics: F-35 = 1 - Rafale = 2

Final Result: F-35 = 3 - Rafale = 8

Ouch. The F-35 certainly is stealthier than the Rafale, but that is about the only real advantage it has. The makes for a better bomber or air-superiority fighter. The JSF is also hindered by its proprietary maintenance model and its lack of two-seater variant. Sure, it has a STOVL version, but few have need (or the budget) for that capability. Canada was not even considering the STOVL version of the F-35.

The real kicker for the Rafale is how much potential it has. A few simple upgrades and modifications would really put it at the head of the pack. A more "open source" model, with user selected weapons, engines, and avionics would really make it a dream machine for just about any air force in the world.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

HMCS Winnipeg’s participation in Exercise JOINT WARRIOR 152

By Sub-Lieutenant Jamie Tobin, Public Affairs Officer, HMCS Winnipeg of

From October 5 to 15, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Winnipeg and its Standing Maritime Group One (SNMG1) consorts participated in Exercise JOINT WARRIOR 152 (Ex JW152), a multinational joint task force exercise in the coastal waters of Scotland involving more than 30 warships representing 12 countries.

Coastal waters of Scotland. 7 October 2015 – Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Winnipeg conducts high-speed manoeuvers while protecting mine countermeasure units from simulated airborne attacks during Exercise JOINT WARRIOR 152 as part of Operation REASSURANCE. (Photo by: Cpl Stuart MacNeil, HMCS Winnipeg)

During the exercise, the task group’s mission was to assist a fictitious nation with the enforcement of a mock United Nations Security Council Resolution. The resolution called for protection of the population from the threat of terrorism, protecting critical infrastructure, reassuring the local and international community, and ensuring freedom of maritime navigation.

“Exercise JOINT WARRIOR 152 was a great opportunity for HMCS Winnipeg to train with all of our warfare capabilities while demonstrating the value that this high-readiness team brings to international operations,” said Commander Pascal Belhumeur, Commanding Officer of HMCS Winnipeg.

During Ex JW152, all of HMCS Winnipeg’s capabilities were put to the test. The ship’s Above Water Warfare team protected the population and infrastructure by defending against aerial and surface threats from military forces while the Underwater Warfare team scanned the waters of the exercise area searching for submarines and other subsurface threats.

The scenario also saw the ship’s CH-124 Sea King Helicopter fly reconnaissance missions to identify various threats and provide aerial protection to both the ship and its allies. It also included mine countermeasure units working to clear the waterways of explosive hazards.

Further, HMCS Winnipeg’s Enhanced Naval Boarding Party boarded several suspicious vessels in the region to investigate their business and ensure that they were not contributing to terrorist activity.

Finally, the remainder of the crew on HMCS Winnipeg supported the exercise’s other tasks by maintaining the ship’s propulsion and combat systems, responding to damage control situations, providing casualty support and ensuring the well-being of the team.

“The team responded in Exercise JOINT WARRIOR 152 just like they would any real-world scenario,” said Lieutenant-Commander Kevin Whiteside, Executive Officer of HMCS Winnipeg. “We came together and responded like the high-readiness unit that we have trained to be and as a result, we further built upon our interoperability with our NATO counterparts.”

While deployed, HMCS Winnipeg is participating in a number of joint NATO training exercises, including Exercise NORTHERN COAST, Exercise JOINT WARRIOR 152, and Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE.