This decision eclipses just buying a new fighter. So many times, over so many years, the Canadian government procurement system has failed the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces. All of us veterans know the tales of bad decisions, political interference and substandard kit given to men and women who have to make it work while other countries were smart enough to buy the equipment needed to do their missions. Seldom has Canada bought the right equipment at the right time.
The globalization of F-35 brings 5th Gen capabilities and a new level of interoperability not imagined with legacy 4/4.5 Gen platforms. F-35 users share knowledge not just data. The many dimensions of F-35 drives integration into all elements of military services, leveraging what the F-35 is capable. Imagine the shield of deterrence in Europe and Asia from the non-US services matching the USAF/USMC/USN fleets.
Tyranny of Distance is the term that best describes flying over the barren land of Canada. The range to travel from one place to the next is always significant, the number of runways that are available to military aircraft is limited and there are few options to divert if unable to land at the intended destination. This is a problem set uniquely Canadian. Persistence, meaning how long that aircraft can stay in the air to do its patrol or surveillance mission, is essential to ensuring that the fighter’s sensors and capabilities are being used to guard Canadian territory. F-35 brings both for Canada’s interests in the arctic and abroad.