The Snowbirds will need new planes by 2020 and the Royal Canadian Air Force is now examining various options.But the need to replace the Snowbirds comes at a time when the military is making deep cuts and its leadership is putting emphasis on ensuring combat readiness. The coming years will also see the start of multi-billion-dollar equipment projects such as those to acquire new fighter jets and ships.The Snowbirds fleet of CT-114 Tutors will be retired by December 2020, according to the Royal Canadian Air Force. “Based on this planned retirement date, the RCAF is currently investigating options that would address the continued provision of a Canadian air demonstration capability,” stated an email from the air force.A report produced for then-associate minister of defence Julian Fantino in October 2011 listed the budget for the “Snowbird Aircraft Replacement Project” at $755-million. It did not outline how many planes would be purchased for that amount. The documents were obtained by Postmedia News through the Access to Information law.The Snowbirds, while entertaining, are a luxury at a time when people are losing their jobs, the economy is hurting and the government is in debt Dan Dempsey, a former Snowbirds commanding officer and team leader, said the air force’s decision to start moving on a replacement aircraft was welcome news. “This is a very, very positive development,” said Mr. Dempsey, a retired lieutenant colonel.He said there are always going to be budget pressures on the Canadian Forces, but he pointed out that a new aircraft will last the team for another 30 or 40 years. “Yes, it’s not a hard-core combat capability, but it is an essential, and in my mind integral, component of the Canadian Forces because recruiting and public relations are always going to be vital.”The air force has put in place a maintenance contract that will cover the Snowbirds aircraft until 2020. In February the government awarded a contract to IMP Aerospace in Halifax to maintain the military’s fleet of 25 CT-114 Tutor aircraft, the RCAF email to Postmedia News said. The three-year contract is for routine preventive maintenance and repairs, with the work taking place at Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ont. After that the contract has the provision to be renewed annually over seven years, each time for a one-year period.The planes have been in the Canadian Forces inventory since 1963 and have been used by the Snowbirds team since 1971. Source: National Post
Gravity always wins!