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Close Air Support in the CF: Bring back something like the CF-5 or introduce something with props?


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This is a bit of a blue sky idea, and I am willing to be shot down, but:

The CF is routinely deploying in fairly austere theaters, and needs some sort of light, simple to maintain and rugged tactical combat aircraft that could be sent overseas quickly and operate from austere forward airstrips in support of the mission. A small, light aircraft like the former CF-5 seems like a good fit, it "should" require fewer support personnel and logistics than a comparable number of the larger and more complex CF-18s.

While the CF-5 is no longer with us, we could take planes like the BaE "Hawk" trainer into service to fill this role, or for some more performance maybe the SAAB Gripon or MiG-29 (both planes designed to operate off sections of highway or other inhospitable places). If we must wait a decade or more for the procurmenrt system to creak along, we could always try an evolved version of the Boeing "Bird of Prey"...
IMHO we should be looking at A10s for ground support.... but that ain't going to happen.

Too bad!
Canada seems to be good at buying used equiptment. Why cant/ shouldent we look at purchacing "Used" MIgs and Su's?
already been discussed
- supply chain problems would be the 1st problem
- compatibility problems with NATO allies (esp US) would be another
- a used Mig & Su is a hunk of junk that is best left in the bone yard
Point seen.

The European Typhoon has already been discussed. (I am reading what i found on the SEARCH! now.)

OOOoooooo I would LOVE to work on those in the future  8)
geo said:
already been discussed
- supply chain problems would be the 1st problem
- compatibility problems with NATO allies (esp US) would be another
- a used Mig & Su is a hunk of junk that is best left in the bone yard

And Russian jets are maintainence hogs, and repair part supplies are a bit iffy, as recently discovered by the Indians when they got their new Sukhoi jets. I made a example earlier about the MiG-29 engines. I will repeat as follows:

I do not recommend Russian jets for one good reason: maintenance. I know a mechanic in the Luftwaffe that serviced the MiG-29's. He said that the MiG-29 was hell to service, primarily due to its crudeness. Also, Russian engines aren't too reliable, and they are more finicky with fuel - see the Indian experience with Russian jets. For example, you have to overhaul a RD-33 engine in a MiG-29 every 500 hours, he told me. Remember, there are two of these engines in a MiG-29. The GE F110 engine in a F-16 can go 1000-1500 hours between overhauls, roughly 2-3 times the life of a Russian engine. So, I have to agree, from a technical perspective to stick with Western designs, and a easy to maintain airplane, to save money on maintenance. Sure, Russian fighters are cheap, and they perform great, but think of the overall costs as well.
gravyboat... what few CF5s were still in storage are presently being distributed to places for mounting on pedestals.... Matter of fact, there's one that I can see outside my office window.... in pieces, on the ground & up to it's canopy in snow.... they aren't going anywhere.

some time ago, was watching the top 10 countdown of the world's best Tanks. The T72 was somewhere around #6 or 7.... crew have to be custom selected (shorter than 5'6") armour sacrificed for speed leaving crew exposed - result being; crew more scared of that bad boy than we would be.
MiG 29s were mentioned for their ability to use austere airstrips rather than their "sterling" qualities. The fact of the matter is most combat aircraft resemble formula one race cars rather than M-38 Jeeps in terms of their maintenance requirements, and airfields with long prepared runways are sometimes rather hard to find on short notice. The list of aircraft that fit the bill is rather short (AV-8B Harriers are the only other one I can think of off hand, and I wonder a bit if the A-10 is really in the same camp, being a dedicated CAS aircraft).

While the CF-5 wasn't a perfect fit to this ideal, a small, light aircraft (all other things being equal) should outperform a larger and heavier aircraft in terms of shorter take off and landing runs, acceleration and turning. I was always amazed watching our CF-5's screaming in at treetop hight and pulling up(!) to engage American aircraft in exercises back in the 1980s. More modern designs can incorporate clever features to increase flying performance, stealth or whatever is considered important (like the hypothetical "SM 27" posted earlier. Our planes may have to attack targets in very complex terrain, track down enemy UAVs or pull tight turns to evade enemy AA fire, so a simple bomb truck might not cut it, fighter like performance is still needed in some circumstances.

In any case, a reasonably simple and rugged airplane which can go on deployment with us is a much needed addition to our military tool kit.
from my perspective, looking for something that can provide ground support (and supression) I'm more inclined / interested in providing protection to ground troops than providing air superiority.
A relatively simple design, fast without being too fast, robust and packing plenty of heat; something like the Cobra gunships the USMC tend to favour and/or something like the A10 that can provide overwhelming fire support without too many bells and whistles...
as the saying goes.... could do a lot worse :)
I think gunships/ armed reconnaissance helicopters would be of greater utility than fixed wing... that being said I would love to see some A10s with a maple leaf on them...
In the perfect world, we would have helicopter gunships and CAS aircraft in the kitbag as well.

Since we don't, we need some sort of multi-role aircraft. Fixed wing aircraft have more versatility in terms of speed, range, load carriage etc. than helos, but sacrifice loiter speed and the ability to hover. A light fighter bomber with some "fighter" like performance covers a lot of ground, and we should not assume we will always be operating under conditions of air superioraty.
light fighter bomber with a little bit of "fighter" thrown in for good measure?...... that's spelled "H A R R I E R"
I was thinking about this topic again, after reading about "Operation Anaconda" in the Sha-i-kot valley in 2002. There were a lot of issues with air support, one being the "fast movers" had a hard time identifying and striking targets in the confines on the valley, and space limitations ment many aircraft had to be "racked and stacked" some distance away so they wouldn't fly into each other while providing air support.

On the other end of the spectrum, the AC-130 could only be used at night, since during the daylight hours, they showed up like the Goodyear blimp (a blimp with a 105mm, mind you), and were vulnerable to atack by enemy SAMs and HMG. The main source for both observations is the book "Not a Good Day to Die : The Untold Story of Operation Anaconda" by Sean Naylor http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0425196097/102-2659521-2840120?v=glance&n=283155

What seems to be needed is something in the middle, between a "slow mover" which is vulnerable to ground fire (no matter how well armed and armoured, the Apache gunships inserted into the battle also suffered grave battle damage from small arms, MG and RPG fire), and "fast movers" which can't stay on station or on target long enough to help. Harriers and A-10s have been mentioned in this thread, and I think some evolved version of these platforms or something designed from the ground up as a CAS with secondary fighter-like qualities would be a good solution.
tough to find anywhere in the osprey to mount any legitimate firepower except out the rear door, not the ideal setup
Buy anything called a V22 and the bill would be so high that the troops would have to do without boots.
I don't know the reason for scrapping the CF-5s but it may have been that at that point in time no one envisioned that there could be a use for them in future operations. There could have been many good reasons for getting rid of them as they were getting rather old and they do make nice pedestal toppers.
It's my understanding that we get lots of support for ops in Afghanistan from other participating forces so we should continue to do the best at what we are doing now which is the ground role.
The effects of downsizing have put the air force in a poor position for acquiring new equipment as a great deal of expertise was lost when the most experienced technical personnel were offered incentives to retire.
Trenton has  a MIG-21. We could fire that big bad boy.  Correct me if I am wrong but was the CF-5  not called the "widow maker" because it's controls were very unforgiving at low altitudes thus causing you to crash?