RCAF TO START COMPETITION FOR A FIFTH-GENERATION FIGHTER IN 2019

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RCAF to start competition for a fifth-generation fighter in 2019

All options are on the table for the Canadian government, including the F-35, although a Boeing F/A-18 acquisition is very unlikely because of the airframer’s commercial dispute with Bombardier

Speaking at the Dubai International Air Chiefs Conference, Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Lt. Gen. Michael Hood said the competition for a fifth-generation fighter will start in 2019.

A winner is expected to be chosen in 2021.

As reported by FlightGlobal, in June, Canada proposed to increase the previous government’s plan to purchase new fighter jets for the RCAF to replace the aging CF-18 fleet from 65 to 88 aircraft, but did not outline a timeline for the request for proposal (RFP).

Canada launched an open competition for the CF-18 replacement last summer following a campaign promise from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party to step away from the controversial Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. Nevertheless all options are on the table for the Canadian government, including the F-35, although as we have already explained a Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet acquisition is very unlikely because of the airframer’s commercial dispute with Bombardier.

Hood also refused to comment whether the Super Hornet is still in contention as an interim fighter.

F-35A print
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This autumn the government announced it had suspended direct engagement with Boeing.

“I would say my personal relationship is limited to the support of our ongoing Boeing products and those normal day-to-day discussions we would have with them,” Hood told FlightGlobal.

Meanwhile, Canada is considering options for an interim CF-18 replacement. The government had previously proposed buying 18 new F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, but the commercial dispute has pushed the government to change course and examine Australia’s used Boeing F/A-18A/B Hornets. As already reported in fact, last month Canada submitted a formal declaration known as an expression of interest to Australia. The RCAF flies a similar Hornet configuration and both the CF-18s and Australian F/A-18A/Bs began operating within a few years of each other. Canada also bought the intellectual property on the jet and already uses L-3 for F/A-18 sustainment, Hood adds.RCAF to start competition for a fifth-generation fighter in 2019

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