About time, and may the most cost-effective and air-to-air capable platform (the Canadian Government still maintains the pretence that airspace protection is the primary mission, rather than bombing small countries) win. That isn’t the F-35, but it is hard to choose among the others. The Gripen is an economical platform in every respect, designed for cold weather and very capable. The Typhoon is probably the best air-to-air platform in the West short of the F-22, and investment by Canada could bring a lot of long-planned upgrades, including AESA radar, for which Europe would thank us. Rafale is a good all-round platform but problematic in terms of weapons compatibility. The Super Hornet is an aerodynamically dated airframe but with excellent electronics and support, is relatively cheap and reliable, and offers the possibility of conversion to the electronic warfare “Growler” version, a very enticing capability as Australia has discovered. If the contract is fought with an eye toward industrial offsets, France and Sweden have both proven willing to go that route, and it will unfortunately be likely to rule out the Eurofighter, whose procurement process is already ridiculously complex.


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