The Next F-18

Defence Minister Peter MacKay brushed off criticism today from journalists expressing concern that Canada was re-entering the billion dollar military-industrial complex by buying a one engine fighter.

Canada currently uses the F-18 Hornet as its primary fighter. They will be 40 years old by 2020 when they will be replaced by the new plane. They have shown signs of wear. An aircraft designed as a light fighter for the U.S. Navy, many viewed the F-16 Falcon as superior. However, Canada preferred the Hornet because if one engine went out it would have another one to fly on over our vast territory. This rudimentary view didn't work in the real world and the F-18 has proven to be less than durable. In fact, Canada has had to purchase used F-18's from the Australian air force to make up for the quickly ageing fleet.

Any time that Canadians bring up the air force somebody is bound to mention the Avro Arrow. Let's forget about the Arrow and talk about other great Canadian planes that never were. For example...The Defender. Bob Diemert's prototype which he hoped to sell to the air force should have the cult status of the Arrow. Back in the 1980's the spectre of a Soviet invasion loomed over us. Since we were stupid in the '80's we realized that the first thing the Russians would do would be to paratroop into our northerly regions and set up camp there, waiting for us to shoot at them. This would have been nice of them. In reality they would have just nuked us with ICBMs from subs off of our coasts. But in the drunken dementia of the time, Diemert built a plane to defend Canada against the Ruskies. Akin to World War 1 technology, every able bodied Canadian male would have a Defender for the price of the F-18 contract. Should the Reds have ever set foot in our arctic we would have said: "Maw: Git me another beer and ma gun. I'm pullin' the Defender out a tha garage."

Here is the whole National Film Board documentary about the Defender...So watch out Avro Arrow fans: Canadian aerospace that never was has a new contender! And maybe we should get some Defenders instead of F-35s.

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