BTW schwalbe what's the latest news about the helicopter situation in the Canadian army ?
I remember there were talks about the current fleet in the middle east being mostly composed of rented gunships ? Is Canada's military budget still declining that fast ?
We bought 15 CH-53 Chinook helicopters last year for 1.2 billions equiped with GAU-2/A 7.62mm miniguns, but since day one that we are in Afghanistan our lack of protection to protect our vehicule convoys was noted. We are still in discussion & evaluation to either buy or rent Attack helicopters such AH-64L Apaches or AH-1W SuperCobras.
For the transportation of military personnels and Private soldiers, the Canada uses civilian helicopters from the private sector. That's great for my company because we insure a lot of them $$$.
I wouldn't not say that our budget is declining after the recent announcement from the government in July that it would pay $9 to $16 billion for the purchase of 65 new F-35 Lightning II jets, the first of which is expected to arrive in 2016. Maintenance costs could push the price tag to $16 billion.
I used to work at the Ministry of Defence on many alternative for replacing our actual CF-18 such the F-35, F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, Rafale, Eurofighter and even the Russian SU-30MK. But sadly the Canada have order in July the F-35 without a call for competitive bids. This decision is purely politic because the support of the Joint Strike Fighter was declined because many Countries have Pull Out of F-35 JSF Program. We are one of the first JSF parteners with the UK and 6 others countries and we are so close to the USA when it's question of Armaments Acquisition Process...they say it's for operability etc...
But yes in fact our military budget has delcine like all Western democracies after the decline and fall of communist. It's the case for France as well...hey what's happening with your acquisition of your second Aircraft carrier in partership with UK ?