Canadian AF- Why Hornet and not the Eagle?

Started by Scooterman, April 22, 2009, 11:24:21 AM

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My guess is price. The Eagle must have been a lot more expensive than the Bug.
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Also don't overlook industrial offsets, etc.  And probably air-to-air refuelling was a consideration US Navy uses hose & drogue, but the USAF it's flying boom.  The F-15 would have posed some searching quesrtions if AAR was a consideration.
The RAF has tended to look at USN jets in the past (eg F-14 and F-18) when the early days of the Tornado F3 programme was not without its 'wobbles'.
Also the F-18 was more readily suited to multiple roles than the F-15 (consider the distinctions between the fighter and strike versions of the Eagle)
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Why the Eagle of all planes? Isn't the direct competitor to the F-18A/B/C/D the F-16A/B/C/D?


I would suggest that the BUG was pitched as a multi-role platform, remember that the BUG was the F/A-18. You could change it's role at the flick of a switch!
The Eagle, as good an airframe as it is, would have to be a dedicated fighter, OR, a dedicated mud mover.

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According to Kirby Miller, who once upon a time occupied a seat in the Tomcat (front, then back IIRC), the Hornet is a highly competent airframe with its principle foible being range.   When asked by our club (OHMS, Portland OR) if the Hornet was better than the Tomcat, he didn't really verbally answer but his body language left us with the feeling it was.    As to the Eagle vs. Hornet....?    Let me check with Mike Howard who posts occasionally on Hyperscale as he arranged for Jeffrey (?) Wang of the OR ANG to speak one evening.   The OR ANG F-15C's out of PDX routinely engage Hornets in training over the Pacific.   Mike may have heard something from those who are there.

Daryl J.


As I understand it, the main issue was price. The CAF had a fixed budget from the government (C$4.3B, iirc)to buy as many fighters as we could get and the Bug gave the best bang for the buck. We got 138 Hornets -- would have only been able to get 80 or so Eagles. Add to that the fact that we were aiming to replace two or three fighter types with one aircraft and the choices go way down.

The Wikipedia article on the CF-18 has a pretty comprehensive explanation.

Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part...

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Yep, the F-15 was eliminated from the New Fighter Aircraft program for cost reasons alone (as were the Tomcat, Tornado, and, in a way, Northrop's F-18L). The F-16 and Mirage F1 were dumped for being single-engined (although the latter had other 'issues' as well).

But it was actually the F-14 that was favoured, not the F-15. There was a brief moment when the F-14 popped back as a possibility. Canada was quietly negotiating with the new Islamic Republic of Iran to buy the Shah's Tomcats. Canada's part in getting US personnel (masquerading as Canadians) out of Iran put paid to that.


Also at the time Grumman had about 80 or so F-14s without a home (The Shahs 2nd order) and they were trying to offload them at discount, Canada was one of the prospects.

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Thanks for the thoughts, fellas.  I asked more out of curiosity than anything else.  

HOWEVER in my storyline, the F-111 handled the strike arena and a pure fighter was needed to replace the CF-101'doo.  Then the SnowVark was retired in favor of Maplehens for an all F-15 force! :thumbsup:


In an earlier timeframe, Canada was an initial partner in the MRCA programme that became Tornado, but pulled out early in the process. If they hadn't, then presumably the Tornado ADV would have been a logical choice, it's high cost offest by Canadian industrial participation in the whole Tornado programme. The Tornado F.3 would have been a good match to Canada's NORAD commitment (with it's radar fixed and suitable datalinks, of course), whilst Canadian GR.1s would probably have been committed to NATO.
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Weaver: according to some sources, the Tornado originated with a study by two Canadian officers. It'd be interesting to know what that original, single-seat MRA concept looked like. Did it have the MRCA's swing-wings? Inquiring minds want to know!

Hmmm, a fixed-wing, single-seat CF MRA might make a good whif ...


Well, Scooter, your situation would mean that the F-111 was accepted early on into the Tactical Support role up here in the GWN, instead of the CF-5 - they were favoured for the Tac Support situation, which means yes, we'd be looking at purebred fighters.

Of course, that would be interesting, I wonder what mods the Canucks would have made for the SnowVark to make it a viable weapon.  interesting ideas indeed.  Then we'd have the use for a full blown fighter.

At the end of the day, the situation would be one of getting cash to not be the concern, and it would have been interesting.
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Overkill? Nah, it's Insurance.  So are the 20" guns.


Not to hijack the thread, but I did this alternate take on an F-111 a few years ago. This one's in the definite "To Do" pile as well...

And the backstory


Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part...

More into Flight Sim reskinning these days, but still what-iffing... Leading Edge 3D


Tornado at the time was going through complexity growth pains. Bad timing for a successful airplane. Huge factor in the F/A 18 was the single seaters being built in Montreal at Canadair. I am not sure how much was build and how much was assemble, however that was one of the biggest factors considered. Mac Air wasn't as willing to share the building and off setting the cost by putting the purcahase price into the salary envelopes of Canadians.
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