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Saturday, May 21, 2005

Canadian Military News Brief

The Canadian Navy received another blow to its morale when HMCS Victoria was forced to return to port.

An electric motor generating sparks caused the boat to return home, aborting the sea trials. It has taken the Canadian Navy six months since HMCS Chicoutimi's Board of Inquiry explained how rough seas and both sail hatches being open resulted in an electrical fire, nine injuries, and the death of one officer to get a submarine back to sea. And the sub in question was forced to limp home because of an electrical casualty. As it stands now, West Edmonton Mall possesses Canada's only credible submarine force.

Unfortunately it is not just the Canadian Navy that has suffered setbacks in the past few years. The Air Force is in similar sad shape. Canada still possesses F-18 Hornets. The Army is still very geared up for worldwide missions. But there are no military airlifters left in the Canadian inventory. On paper, Canada has 32 Hercules transports. In reality 19 of them are permanently grounded due to fatigue, some airframes have 40,000+ hours on them and Lockheed says between 40,000 and 60,000 hours is when Hercules need to be retired. Of the remaining Hercules fleet, they can not be used in the transport role because of liability issues. In fact Air Canada has sold off its 747s that can be configured as freighters though on the civil side there is a ray of light from Boeing if Air Canada presses forward and buys 777s from Boeing. The purchase of new military transports unfortunately is mired in controversy, some of it pure political BS. Some in Canada want to buy the A400M from Airbus, but as this article shows that is a very iffy proposition that is still years in the future[First the A400M was called the Future Large Airlifter[FLA], but by the mid-1990s Future had been replaced by Fictional by wags and the United Kingdom got so tired of waiting they ordered from the US four C-17s] while Canada needs replacement airlifters right now. The UK is very keen on acquiring more C-17s but to do so something must go, so the UK has offered to lease to Canada 10 C-130J Hercules. Would you believe there are some in the Canadian military and other Canadian government places who think getting 10 nearly new airplanes to replace airplanes that that are upto 41 years of age is a bad idea? It is true and they even trot out the above mentioned bad experience with the refurbished submarines bought from the UK as a reason not to lease these C-130Js. The sheer stupidity of this staggers the mind. Canada right at this moment can not project any of its military or humanitarian forces around the world unless the US or the UK has some spare airlift.

Amidst the pressing need for this new transport, the Canadian government has produced a new five year plan to revitalize the military. Like many white papers before it, it is long promises and short on concrete initiatives. In fact, it gives lip service for the need to modernize Canada's airlift capability, but no actual recommendations are made. The only concrete thing in the document is the plan to spend $13billion to upgrade the Canadian military, a majority of the spending is supposed to happen in years 4 and 5 naturally. I think the Canadian politicians hope that by appearing to do something and then delaying actually doing anything, the public will forget and the money will not have to be spent. If true, they need to be run out of office for failing to adequately safeguard their country which is one of the duties they are supposed to carry out.

Rest easy Canada, your government is truly protecting you from threats. The Rangers are patrolling the Arctic frontier carrying out sovereignty patrols armed with Lee-Enfield .303 rifles from WWII and when possible flown in via Twin Otter though the Rangers hope the new five year plan will get them a replacement for the Twin Otters. And if you have an accident in the wilderness or at sea, there are always the fifteen EH.101 Cormorants to swoop in to save you. Oh wait, no they are grounded also because in little over a year Canada has used up all its spare tail rotor half hubs and the manufacturer is puzzled as to what has happened.

In less than fifteen years Canada has gone from being a credible world wide military to one that it seems is barely competent enough to patrol its own long frontiers and borders.

4 comments:

Sharon said...

I'd comment on the duty of the government to maintain an active military but you know ...

Legally, the government fell last week. Four times. The government lost four consecutive confidence votes. However, Paul Martin - the Prime Minister and Head Briber - convinced everyone that the real confidence vote would be last Thursday's Budget vote. Which gave him 9 days to bribe an MP.

He succeeded, having bribed Belinda Stronach to switch sides. Another MP, Grewal, taped the discussions where liberals like Dosanj were trying to get him to jump ship rom the Conservatives to the Liberals.

It is, it's worth mentioning, illegal to bribe an MP. However, the liberals have already denied the option of aninquiry, never mind actual punishment.

Of course this is the same government that ... lemme put it this way; the biggest shame of the Gomery Enquiry is that we are seeing, up close and personal, just how crooked civil servants can be because there is literally no way to discipline them.

Anna said...

Senator Amidala, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith - "This is how Liberty dies - with thunderous applause."

I guess that sums up the fate of Canada's experiment with democracy then.

I had heard Stronach had jumped into bed with the Liberals for a Cabinet post. Did not know it was going to have that cataclysmic of an effect.

Gomery Inquiry, oh yeah AdScam. Any Canadian blogger posting or linking to an American site with the transcripts can be arrested. Or how the Liberal Party spent literally millions of dollars for make Canadians 'think Canadian' while funneling a good chunk into Liberal Party coffers. And it all happened while Paul Martin was around.

docjim505 said...

It's really a shame that the Canadian military is going this way. They've got a proud history (including, I'm not too proud to say, kicking OUR butts a few times during the War of 1812).

I can't help but feel that the Canadians are betwixt and between since the end of World War II. With the United States carrying the load of North American defense (and much of the load in NATO), the Canadians haven't had to worry too much about keeping up their military, though they had a few squadrons of fighter-interceptors as their "contribution" to NORAD. I think that a lot of Canadian liberals got the idea that they didn't really need an armed forces any more. Frankly, I think the only reason they have one at all is because they think it's sort of a requirement to be considered a "serious" nation... and it gives them some say in North American defense policy.

Sigh...

Did you ever hear the story of the Avro "Arrow" interceptor? There was a made-for-Canadian-TV movie about it, and it was fairly accurate. Avro-Canada developed in the late 1950s an EXTREMELY advanced interceptor, apparently much more capable than our own F-106 (which was, I believe, still under development at the time). The Canadian government ordered the program halted because they'd been convinced by the Eisenhower administration to purchase BOMARC missiles for air defense. When they realized that they'd killed the most advanced aircraft in the world - which the USAF was also interested in - they ordered all the prototypes and records destroyed out of sheer embarassment.

Smart. Very smart.

Anna said...

Docjim505,

Yes I know of the Avro CF-105 Arrow. And I did watch the movie. Once again a new government seized upon a 'scientific study' that happened to match their desires. So the CF-105 got killed and the talent behind it went south to the United States. The United States has suffered that a few times: McNamara's TFX that instead birthed 7 different versions of the F-111 not counting the F.111K for the RAF that got killed by a British White Paper on Defense along with the TSR.2. Or the US study that concluded with guided missiles dog-fighting was obsolete so the F-4 did not have an internal gun.
All tragedies that could have been stopped by application of common sense.
Right now the US Navy and Marines are seeing the latest example of politics trumping military reality is the F-18E Super Hornet from the Hornet Preservation Society. Except ejection seat, AYK-14 with MIL-STD databus, and external ordance; the Super Hornet shares nothing in common with a F/A-18C.