Sunday, April 29, 2012 by: Bill WaltonMy old Dell PC, running Vista, is beginning to show its age. One of the USB ports is flaky, the processors cannot keep up with all the background programs that are supposedly doing maintenance but may be stealing my identity, and the memory, like my own, is not up to the tasks of modern internet use. It is similar to our CF-18 Hornets â€“ old and cannot keep up with the competition. I am not nearly as skilled at a fighter pilot, but I think we both feel the same way about our old equipment.
The thing with buying a new computer, and this has been the case since we first started using them, is that newer and better models supersede them the day after you buy them. The useful life continues on for a few years but if you are to keep up with your friends and facebook neighbours, you must stay current with technology. The same applies to fighter aircraft. The proposed F-35 sounds like a very neat aircraft and as soon as they manage to manufacture them in great enough quantity to sell them to others, the US will begin working on the next generation of air superiority aircraft.
I could take my old Dell into the shop and upgrade the motherboard, chips and little shiny things inside and extend its life by a few years. Similarly, our Department of National Defence could have upgraded the old CF-18s into the larger, faster Super F-18s that the Americans now use for their air superiority while they await the new F-35. However, saving money is not in my genes, nor does it appear to be the flavour of the day at DND.
The last time we went to war, we did not even use our fighter aircraft. Sure, we recently blew up a few Libyans after the Americans cleared the way by destroying the Libyan air force but we could have done the same job with anything that flew and fired missiles onto the ground targets. The Snowbirds could have done the job â€“ and then made a pretty heart in the sky to show the Libyans we really loved them. If we ever go to war again, will we use those expensive F-35s? We would have to ferry them to a friendly airfield, relying on allies to already have secured air superiority in the area. We would then have to rely on the Americans for AWACS and satellite directions to fly the missions. If all we will ever be doing is supporting the US, why not just loan them some money and let them fly their obsolete aircraft?
If we think we need fighters here at home to interdict drug smugglers and hijacked airliners, the newer F-18 is more than capable for the task. Steve could save us all a pile of money by rethinking our defense strategy.
Besides, I have it from a good source that the next war(s) will be fought with electronics that can disrupt our power supplies. I know this to be true because every time North Bay Hydro burps, it shuts down my computer. Can you imagine what would happen if the whole country / continent was without electricity for 3 days? Yep, thatâ€™s how we will fight in the future â€“ not with airplanes that cannot get off the ground without electricity – but with computers.
Maybe we should invest in solar panels and batteries, not fighters. And maybe I should upgrade my computer now so Iâ€™ll be ready.