I still think we can't afford to spend that kinda of money plain and simple lets live with refitted f18s spend some money on the the rest of our military for the much needed updates. Let the americans waste money on the front line aircraft and put the money to work in more appropriate directions. Its not like the Russians are gonna attack and besides our allies would help if there was any aggression in the north. We have a capable and well respected military and have proved that time and time again with the various campaigns over the years. Why not use common sense use the money in Canada instead of giving it to the Americans. Look at the plans in place for the ship building that make real sense. We are very good at doing disaster support and there is no shortage of help needed out there. Let our military provide the aid need throughout the world a far more noble and valid endeaver.
I guess you don't need insurance on your house until you have a fire huh. The ability to protect our airspace is crucial to our sovereignty. Otherwise, other people will enforce their sovereignty on our airspace.
We also need to be able to project power. As part of alliances, we have commitments to fulfil.
Our current F-18 is a superb platform. It is multi-role, offers flexibility, has great sensors and the user still has access to raw-ish data. I truly believe we are the best multi-role platform out there, including the American F-16s and F/A-18C/E.
Having said that, they will need to be replaced. A fighter can only operate for so long. It has already been almost 30 years and to be honest, their airframe life is almost over. By the time we hit 2020, there will not be too much left of the old lady. The only viable option at the moment is the JSF. For 75M$ a piece, you get everything: Airframe, engines, EW suite, EO/IR, DAS, helmet. All the bells and whistles. Some will argue "Buy the Super Hornet". Well, surprise for all you folks, the Super Hornet cost 55M$ a piece. That doesn't include anything other than Airframe/Engines. Pylons, gun, racks, EW suite (and people that know about it know that this is the most expensive part of a weapon system), pods, helmets. Basically, everything that makes it a weapon platform is not included in the price. In the end, it would be much more expensive for way less in terms of capabilities.
But I digress. You must know more than frosti and I.