Bombardier CF-190 Crossbow

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The Bombardier CF-190C Crossbow

The Bombardier CF-190 Crossbow is a heavyweight twin engine stealth multirole fighter developed by Bombardier Aerospace. The engines of the Crossbow were developed by Orenda while the avionics (AESA radar, infrared and ultraviolet missile detection systems and radar warning receivers) were developed by Western Electric and Research in Motion. Other development work was done by Raytheon, Heroux-Devtek, and General Dynamics Canada.

History[edit | edit source]

An early concept of what would eventually become the CF-190 Crossbow was designated the CF-205 Arrow II and looked like a Canadian clone of the Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23 Black Widow II.

The idea for the Crossbow was originally conceived in early 1999 with the formation of the Canada Defense Aerospace Company (which was formed by a group of Canadian aerospace engineers, many of them having experience with Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier and others) in early January.

In March, Canada Defense Aerospace submitted a proposal to Gordon O'Connor, a former Brigadier and now the deputy Minister of National Defense. The case the company made was that the Canadian Forces had built a substantial electronics industry partly as a result of the rebuilding of HMCS Warrior and the upgrades to many aircraft, along with a growing industry building other products that catered to the Forces, and that the country could easily build many of its own aircraft and military gear. And the proposal that the company specifically focused on was a new fighter for Canada, to be developed entirely in Canada.

The idea would go in three stages. Stage I would be the build of a fighter design, using a proprietary design but with off-the-shelf internals, to prove that the concept could fly. Stage II would add a new engine program, while Stage III would go for the brass ring and build the aircraft entirely from Canadian knowledge and know-how. The plan was ambitious, but even the most pessimistic would realize the chance to build a major high-tech industry in Canada, instead of simply buying gear from the Americans.

O'Connor quickly brought this to Defense Minister Kim Campbell, who loved the idea and quickly explained it to the Cabinet. All liked the idea, but most expressed concerns about the cost. Even the most mild variant would cost hundreds of millions to develop, to do the job that the Tomcat could already do. But the argument in favor was that this would create a real Canadian aerospace defense industry. The debate raged on through May 1999, but then got changed. The existence of the program was leaked to the Press, with the proposal calling it "a chance to rectify the mistakes made when Canada stopped its indigenous fighter the last time." The response was positive, to say the least.

The debate through June was focused on how much it would cost to build the fighter, and all expected the costs of development to be in the billions. But even the most pessimistic commentators pointed out that the program would create tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of jobs, and spending such money to develop the fighter was better spent in Canada than buying upgrades or new equipment from abroad. All five parties in Ottawa expressed support for the idea, though Reform and BQ support was somewhat tempered by cost concerns and the BQ's trademark "what's in it for Quebec?" attitude.

Sensing the support, Ontario Premier Mike Harris his Quebec counterpart, Daniel Johnson, made the first moves - an agreement between Canada Defense Aerospace and Bombardier Aerospace to build the fighters, with the first development moneys coming from Queens Park and Quebec City. That deal was signed on June 25th, 1999, and the development began again.

On July 1st, in a Canada Day speech broadcast across the country, Charest emphatically made it official - "We will not make the same mistake twice. This fighter will be developed, it will be built, and it will see service with the Forces" - was in his speech, and was a key portion of the speech sent out to the Forces members. The legislation to provide the funding from the DND was introduced on July 5th, 1999, and passed easily on July 21st.

It's first flight occurred on August 26th, 2006. The prototype (designated CF-190XV) took off from the Mirabel Airport in Mirabel, Quebec. During testing, the Crossbow would achieve a maximum speed of Mach 2.5, a supercruising speed of Mach 1.65, a climb rate of 55,000 feet/sec with a service ceiling of 70,000 feet (21,336 meters). It could also carry 26,000 pounds (11,793. kg) of ordnance with it in its three internal weapons bays.

Production began in 2008. The Canadian Forces ordered eighty-four Crossbows for their air force.

At the April 2010 Red Flag exercises, the Crossbows of 445 Squadron managed to beat down everything but the F-22 Raptor. The AtG performance of the Crossbow would impress the Australian F-111 pilots and British Tornado GR.7 pilots.

In 2011, the Netherlands ordered eighteen Crossbows while Australia ordered thirty-six of them. In January 2012, the Crossbow and CF-184C Supercat begin receiving the Orenda PS.14 Haida afterburning turbofans to replace their General Electric F110-GE-429D turbofans.

Variants[edit | edit source]

  • CF-190XV: Pre-production version of the Crossbow. Like the CF-190A, it has american electronics, avionics, and the General Electric F110-GE-429D turbofans. It is currently located onboard the HMCS Eagle museum.
  • CF-190A: Costs $90,000,000 CAD ($90,724,476.85 USD) - The production model, like the CF-190XV, it uses large numbers of off the shelf parts.
  • CF-190B: Costs $96,000,000 CAD ($96,782,203.63 USD) - Replaces the F110-GE-429D turbofans with the PS.14 Haida turbofans.
  • CF-190C: Costs $108,400,000 CAD ($109,288,782.61 USD) - Replaces the avionics and electronics with Canadian designed equivalents. The definitve version of the Crossbow.
  • CE-190D Nightwatch: $110,506,427.51 CAD ($111,412,480.93 USD) Electronic Warfare version of the Crossbow.

Users[edit | edit source]

  • Australia
    • Royal Australian Air Force
      • No. 1 Squadron RAAF
      • No. 6 Squadron RAAF
  • Canada
    • Canadian Forces Air Command/Royal Canadian Air Force
      • 407 Strike Fighter Squadron
      • 411 Strike Fighter Squadron
      • 424 Strike Fighter Squadron
      • 433 Strike Fighter Squadron
      • 435 Strike Fighter Squadron
      • 445 Strike Fighter Squadron
      • 447 Strike Fighter Squadron
      • 460 Strike Fighter Squadron
  • Republic of Korea
    • Republic of Korea Air Force
  • Netherlands
    • Royal Netherlands Air Force
      • 320 Squadron
  • United Kingdom
    • Royal Air Force

Specifications[edit | edit source]

  • Primary Manufacturer: Bombardier Aerospace Technology
  • Sub-Contractors: North American Avro Aerospace, Orenda Engineering, Research in Motion, Raytheon, Heroux-Devtek, Western Electric, General Dynamics
  • Users: Republic of Korea Air Force, Royal Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Netherlands Air Force
  • Characteristics
    • Crew: 2 (Pilot and Weapons Systems Officer)
    • Length: 26.70 m (87 ft 7 in)
    • Wingspan: 14.20 m (46 ft 7 in)
    • Height: 4.55 m (14 ft 11 in)
    • Wing Area: 80.52 sq m (866.71 sq ft)
    • Empty Weight: 17,600 kg (38,801 lb)
    • Loaded Weight: 36,850 kg (81,240 lb)
    • Max Takeoff Weight: 48,500 kg (106,924 lb)
    • Max Fuel Load: 25,500 lb (3000 US gal, 11,340 L)
    • Powerplant: 2x Orenda Engineering PS-14 Haida afterburning turbofans
      • Dry Thrust (each): 30,750 lb (125.89 kN)
      • With Afterburners: 46,000 lb (196.62 kN)
  • Performance
    • Maximum Speed: Mach 2.6 (1,979 mph, 3,185 km/h) at 15,000 m
    • Supercruise Speed: Mach 1.65 (1,256 mph, 2,021 km/h)
    • Low Altitude Max Speed: Mach 1.44 (950 mph, 1,529 km/h)
    • Combat Radius: 2,750 km (1,709 mi)
    • Ferry Range (with two 2000 L external tanks): 9,000 km (5,594 mi)
    • Service Ceiling: 22,500 m (73,800 ft)
    • Wing Loading (at MTOW): 123.37 lb/sq ft
    • Thrust/Weight:
      • 0.86 (at MTOW)
      • 0.94 (50% fuel, max payload)
  • Armament
    • Guns: 2 Mauser BK-27 27mm revolver cannons, 250 rounds each
    • Weapons: 3 Weapons Bays (1 primary, 2 secondary) and up to 12 external hardpoints (six on each wing), with a capacity for 18,750 kg (41,340 lb) of ordinance
      • Air-to-Air Missiles: AIM-7R Sparrow, AIM-9X Sidewinder, AIM-54E Phoenix, AIM-120 AMRAAM, AIM-132 ASRAAM, AIM-152 AAAM, IRIS-T, MBDA Meteor, Type-90 AAM-3, Type-99 AAM-4, Type-04 AAM-5
      • Air-to-Ground Missiles: AGM-53 Condor, AGM-65 Maverick, AGM-84 Harpoon, AGM-84E SLAM, AGM-88 HARM, AGM-130 Powered Standoff Bomb, AGM-154 JSOM, AGM-158 JASSM, Taurus KEPD 350, Brimstone,
      • Bombs: Mk.80 series iron bombs, Paveway Series laser guided bombs, JDAM GPS-guided bombs, GBU-35 Icefire thermobaric bomb, CBU-107 Passive Attack Weapon, GBU-28 "Bunker Buster" bomb, GBU-39 and GBU-53 Small Diameter Bomb, CBU-99 and CBU-100 Rockeye
  • Avionics
    • AN/APG-82 AESA radar
    • AN/ALR-94 Radar Warning Receiver

See Also[edit | edit source]