Military Aviation

CANADA COULD BUY SECOND HAND F/A-18 HORNET FIGHTER JETS FROM AUSTRALIA

“Australia has flown a very similar F/A-18 to ours, it is one of the reasons why we have sent a team down to take a look at various options,” said Canada’s Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan

As reported by The Globe And Mail a Canadian delegation recently travelled to Australia to see whether second-hand Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets, which are being placed on the market by the country’s military, could fit Canada’s needs for an “interim” fleet.

The news was confirmed on Sep. 6 by Canada’s Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan. “Australia has flown a very similar F-18 to ours, it is one of the reasons why we have sent a team down to take a look at various options. Our engineers will take a look at all the specs to make sure the airframe is worthy enough, making sure we look at the systems that are also employed. … They will provide an assessment in short order,” he said.

However ten Canadian-based aerospace companies sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau where they asked him to stop blocking the purchase of 18 F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets, arguing they stand to suffer from the government’s unwavering support of Bombardier Inc. in a trade dispute with Boeing Co.

“Prime Minister, we ask for your co-operation as we work with Boeing to keep our collective growth and innovation story unfolding here in Canada. Our partnership is deep and enduring, but it needs your engagement. There is a bright opportunity in front of us that can be harvested, in a successful and mutually beneficial win for Canada, our Canadian companies, and Boeing,” said the letter sent on Tuesday by senior executives from companies such as Héroux-Devtek, L-3 MAS, CAE and GE Canada.

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F/A-18F Super Hornet VFA-103 Jolly Rogers, AG201 / 166621 / 2007

This letter, which calls on the government to advance “aerospace for all of Canada,” is the most recent development in an increasingly bitter dispute between the Canadian government and Boeing.

As we have explained in fact the Canadian government said last year it would enter into discussions with the U.S. on buying several samples of Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft as interim fighter to supplement Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CF-18 fleet and then holding an open competition to determine which aircraft will be Canada’s “definitive” fighter.

But on May 18, 2017 Canada’s government Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland warned that her country could cancel the planned $2 billion purchase of 18 F/A-18 Super Hornet fighters because of U.S. Department of Commerce anti-dumping investigations against Canadian plane-maker Bombardier. Boeing in fact claimed the same day that since Bombardier’s new larger C Series passenger aircraft receives Canadian government subsidies that can give it advantages on international market, duties should be imposed on the Canadian airliner.

Taking adavantage of the rift between Canada and Boeing, in a Jun. 1 letter Lockheed Martin has officially offered its F-35 as interim aircraft to supplement the RCAF CF-18 jets. Lockheed has long contended the F-35 is more cost effective and more advanced than the Super Hornet.

Photo credit: Royal Australian Air Force and Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Lauren Booher / U.S. Navy

Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

View Comments

  • If this is the way that our Canandian cousins want to go to give the, a bit more time on the next fighter selection - then I'm sure the RAAF would be pleased that the Hornets are being passed into safe hands. The Australian F18A/Bs are similar in setup and upgrades to the CF-18s and have been maintained to a high standard.

    I'm sure that the maple leaf would look fine replacing the kangaroo in the roundel as well.

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