Taranis vs F-35

I have written about my opinions on the F-35 before (F-35s Scrapped and Government and Military: Bad Decisions) and my opinion hasn’t really changed: I still think the F-35 is potentially the wrong plane for Canada.

1297412504982_ORIGINALNow, there is an article on the Toronto Sun talking about the potential of the Taranis unmanned drone platform.

I have always thought that a mix of drones and real fighter planes is the future of most modern air force systems in the world, and Canada is no exception.

I think the Taranis could be a great first line defender of Canada’s arctic airspace, and support during our overseas missions.

Of course, the abilities of the Taranis is such that it can’t compete with the F-35 in abilities or weapons payload, but it is still much better than the current Predator and Reaper drones that are running missions for the U.S. and its allies.

The British are leading the way on the development of the Taranis and have left the F-35 behind. They are only a few weeks from flight testing their new UCAV, and I wish them success. I would still like to see what the U.S. military complex could do with some serious funding towards this kind of weapons platform.

Reducing the human capital risk is one of the most important things a modern military can do, and a large part of why governments spend a great deal of money developing weapons systems.

There will always be a need for smart men and women to lead the way on the battlefield, and I can’t say the Taranis is the right platform for Canada, but I am intrigued and I’m looking forward to hearing more about it and its soon to be developed kin.

4 responses to “Taranis vs F-35”

  1. I’m leery of committing to drones – just yet – partially because jamming them or spoofing them is still relatively simple, and I’ll maintain that Super Hornets are ideal for the near future for Canada, with the added benefit that they’re still being manufactured, so lead time is minimal.

    The Taranis is ~18 months behind currently, and is likely to slip further.

    I’d love to see a fly-off between the F-35, Super Hornet and KF-X.

    • I agree with you. Maybe a three system air force would be ideal for Canada? F/A-18E/F Super Hornets + Drones + few F-35’s? We would have the less expensive planes with systems that are “similar” to what our airmen are used to servicing, then expensive planes for top tier missions where stealth is key, and then drones to do support and roles best suited for their abilities.

  2. Super Hornets are already ancient technology by modern standards. I’ll use an analogy I used with David before, when you are buy a computer, do you buy it for what you need right now, or do you think about what you may need in the future. Replacing a airframe from the 70s with and airframe from the 80s doesn’t fix the problem, it just delays it a few years. And I’m not sure the Super Hornet is still in production, the ones purchased by the RAAF a few years ago were war stock and if they are still in production they are wont be for too much longer. Canada has a bad habit of purchasing equipment that is already or near to being obsolete. Is the F-35 the right option, probably not but there are no real alternatives either. As for UAVs (they aren’t drones or robots, they don’t fly by themselves) They are great for surveillance and striking static targets, in a running battle or any sort of air to air operation, they are not anywhere near what is needed. and the multi-platfrom approach you are suggesting would cost so much more than the F-35 project and completely defeat the purpose and goal of a reducing cost and logistics. A single platform used by nato nations.

    • The single platform NATO wide would work better if everyone was still committed to the F-35. I feel like with so many countries slowly dropping out, and with orders being reduced, the cost per plane is increasing far beyond what a country like ours can afford. I know it really sucks because part of me would like the Canadian Forces to have the very best equipment, but cost is an issue that must be considered. Maybe a multi-system air force would be more expensive, but with all of the roles Canada tries to fill, it is hard to find something cost effective… I don’t envy those that have to make these decisions.

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