With the Canadian federal government once again chugging along after a year of elections on both the national and provincial levels, certain issues are coming up again from the previous edition of Parliament Hill.
Many of the issues are crime related… but there has been some renewal of opposition grumblings over the F-35 Stealth Fighter.
I’ve written all about the technological benefits of the F-35 previously, but I really didn’t touch too much on why we need a stealth fighter in the first place beyond the vague (but real) threat that Russia presents to our borders.
Currently – in the year 2011 – there is only one player in the global military arena that has a fully functional, deployable stealth aircraft asset… and it’s to our benefit that we happen to be best friends with the U.S.A. and their F-22 Raptor squadrons.
However, other nation states around the world are progressing towards testing their own stealth aircraft – and those nations aren’t always on the up and up… and yes, I’m looking straight at China and the former Soviet Union.
With Russia, the situation is fairly predictable: just as in the days of the Cold War, Russia can be relied upon to act solely in it’s own best interests – even if those interests are counter to what the rest of the world finds acceptable.
One poignant example of this would be the Georgian War of a few years ago where Russian military forces invaded the territory of another sovereign nation… and then subsequently told the world it could collectively go fuck itself if we didn’t like it.
At the end of the Georgian conflict, it was practically the Cuban Missile Crisis all over again – except in microcosm – as American troops stood almost toe to toe against Russian counterparts as they brought aid and supplies to the stricken Georgia.
The only differences were that Georgia was a former Soviet communist state instead of Castro’s newly communist island, and there weren’t at least 3,000 nuclear weapons ready to be shot at the other side with the push of a button.
However, the situation was fairly typical when you study the long term behavior of Russian military commanders and their political overlords in Moscow – so, it’s not too far of a leap in logic that (when Sukhoi or MiG gets a stealth plane into full production) their behavior will change much in the stealth era.
The only wrinkle in that observation is that Russia will export it’s military hardware to virtually anyone with deep enough pockets – and I would only assume that would apply to future stealth aircraft produced for the Kremlin.
Despite the appearances of – and the lip service towards – democracy, Russian politics is really the bastard son of Mr. Communism and Ms. Democracy… and has been placed into the foster care of Mr. & Mrs. Capitalist-Autocracy – and that autocracy needs money to pay out hush money as well as distribute infrastructure contracts to political allies.
This money comes from those sales of military hardware to the highest bidder.
You know who’s the main beneficiary of Russia’s sales of military hardware and technological know-how?
The People’s Republic of China.
Believe me when I say that this is a bad thing.
It’s not that big of a secret that Beijing would like to fully control their political area of influence – essentially every island between Australia and Japan, and a few more going in the direction of India – and have been steadily building up their army, air force, and navy with hardware that was either manufactured in Russia, or designed there.
The most dangerous of these military assets are Kilo-class attack submarines… which are damn near impossible to detect in their newest configuration.
Why are they dangerous – aside from the obvious?
Because the Chinese have always intended for them to be a very real threat to American carrier groups – the very U.S. naval assets that keep China from unilaterally invading Taiwan… the island nation that Beijing maintains is Chinese territory and has simply been ‘misbehaving’ since the 1950s.
Ask your average Taiwanese citizen, and I’m sure they’d have a different opinion… and it’s that fact that the U.S. government counts on to maintain it’s political influence right off the coast of the world’s largest communist nation.
With these political tensions constantly at play, it’s very probable that the next global military conflict will start in the South China Sea – possibly by the sinking of a U.S. aircraft carrier by a Chinese Kilo using a conventional or nuclear torpedo.
What does this have to do with Canada?
The Chinese are developing a stealth fighter of their own, independent of Russian researchers.
And yet we in North America overlook all of these alarming facts because nearly everything at Walmart is made in China – so it’s not to our economical advantage to call China on it’s various sins… not least of which is Beijing’s abysmal record on human rights and dignities that allow for factories in China to pay their workers with dust bunnies and a few grains of rice so that Chinese manufactured goods are the cheapest.
Things are considerably more complicated for our American neighbors: a lion’s share of American debt is owned by Chinese banks, and if those debts were suddenly called in – and if Washington didn’t put up a fight – up to 25-30% of all sellable real estate in the U.S. would become Chinese owned… on top of industrial land which is already owned by Chinese corporations.
All this means is that there are conflicts coming – and those conflicts will have air wars fought with stealth planes.
Even in small, isolated conflicts that will be resolved by NATO or the United Nations in the coming years could be fought with stealth air assets – and if you haven’t noticed, those type of wars are where Canada steps onto the word stage.
Libya’s skies were patrolled by Canadian warplanes this year.
We need the hardware that will allow men flying for the Royal Canadian Air Force to go forward into the future and not be held back by legacy military hardware designed with attitudes from the 1970s (which is where the CF-18 design originated) or the 1980s (where most attack jets available on the open market were designed).
The F-35 Lightning II (Joint Strike Fighter) is that tool – a plane designed for the 21st Century, and for the air combat of 2020 and beyond.
The Canadian opposition parties are saying we should buy the Eurofighter Typhoon or the SAAB Gripen to replace our aging and rapidly failing CF-18s – but those planes are legacy designs from the 70s/80s/early 90s.
Yes, the Typhoon and Gripen are fast and agile aircraft… but they simply don’t bring to bear the warfare technologies that will be required in the future.
So… when China is no longer satisfied with just being an industrial power – and that’s coming, whether we like it or not – which planes do you want Canadian fighter pilots screaming through the skies in?
I know that I personally want them up there kicking ass and chewing bubblegum… long after they’ve run out of bubblegum.
How about you?