This piece by the Globe and Mail is the best coverage I’ve seen yet of the conditions Canadian fighter crews are working in over Libya, and also discusses the constraints of their rules of engagement. For civilian readers, Rules of Engagement or ROEs specify the circumstances under which deadly force can be used other than basic self defence.

Lt.Col Menard on the flight line in Sicily, 21 March. CF photo.

Also noteworthy is the aircrews’ CO’s description of being under anti-aircraft fire for the first time: “it’s a significant event in your life when for the first time, you’re shot at. … It’s performance-enhancing stress”. So even steeely-eyed fighter jocks are human.

Read the whole piece here.

In related news, the G&M’s federal election coverage also reported today that “In an important revelation, the Liberals now intend not only to scrap the F-35 fighter program, but to defer replacing the aging fleet of CF-18s until ‘it is necessary.'”

There has been no discssion in the media about Canada’s CF-18s not being adequate for the task in Libya. Given that Libya’s air force and air defences are mostly destroyed, our aircraft are probably superior to the task. However, it is this blog’s opinion that the Liberals are ignoring yet more evidence that unexpected commitments of Canada’s military will continue into the future, whether we have modern equipment or not, and so their defence platform is disappointing.