RCAF to fly CF-18 fighters till 2032


By Dario Leone
Jan 30 2018
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Improvements to maintain the CF-18 fleet have also been ongoing and another upgrade program is in the works

At a recent industry day to outline Canada’s plan for a new fighter, industry representatives were told that the CF-18 will continue to operate till 2032.

Ottawa expects the winner to deliver the first aircraft in 2025 and complete the deliveries of 88 jets by 2030.

Canada has been upgrading the CF-18 over the years.

In 2001 a modernization project was launched to allow the planes to continue operating until 2017-2020.

According to National Post structural improvements to maintain the fleet have also been ongoing and another upgrade program is in the works, with the aim to keep the planes flying until 2025, according to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).

That will provide the planes with various systems to allow them to operate with allied air forces as well as meet new rules to fly in domestic and international airspace. There could also be upgrades to weapons, the RCAF says.

At this juncture, it is unsure if more upgrades need to be done to keep it in service till 2032.

VFA-2 F/A-18F
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F/A-18F Super Hornet VFA-2 Bounty Hunters, NE100 / 166804 / 2016

Noteworthy as we have previously reported Canada announced in December its intention to buy second-hand F/A-18 Hornets from Australia and scrap the Super Hornet acquisition from Boeing.

According Canada’s Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan the Australian Hornets are very similar to F/A-18s flown by RCAF and will fit the service needs for an “interim” fighter.

Canada’s government cancelled a planned $2 billion purchase of 18 F/A-18 Super Hornet fighters because of a decision by Boeing to launch a trade challenge against Canadian planemaker Bombardier, which the U.S. giant accuses of dumping airliners on the domestic American market.

By buying the Australian Hornets Canada saved money and avoided the need to train its pilots on a new aircraft or spend money on a new supply chain.

Canada is due to officially announce the requirements for its new fighter fleet in early 2019, kicking off an open competition.

RCAF to fly CF-18 fighters till 2032

One potential contender is Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter, which Trudeau initially said he would not buy because it was too expensive. The government has since softened its line, saying the plane would be allowed to compete.

Photo credit: Royal Canadian Air Force and Alain Rioux via Wikimedia Commons

Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com

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Dario Leone

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.
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