According to a statement released by the Canadian Armed Forces, first two ex-Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18A Hornets arrived in Canada to replace the ageing CF-18 fleet.
Canada is procuring 18 fighter aircraft and parts from the Government of Australia to rapidly increase availability of the CF-18 fleet in order to ensure the RCAF can meet all obligations simultaneously.
“These aircraft are the same type as Canada’s current CF-18 fleet and can be integrated quickly into our fleet. Modifications and technical work will begin immediately so they can be brought to a similar configuration to Canada’s CF-18 aircraft. The work will continue to be done by Canadian companies”, it said in a statement.
Deliveries will continue at regular intervals for the next three years, and aircraft will be integrated into the CF-18 fleet as modifications are completed. The final aircraft are expected to arrive by the end of 2021.
“The arrival of these aircraft will support our women and men in uniform to fulfill their missions and meet Canada’s international obligations. As part of the procurement, we will make the necessary investments in these aircraft to ensure they meet the requirements of the Royal Canadian Air Force,” said Carla Qualtrough, Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility Minister.
The first arrived fighter aircraft were seen in the Royal Australian Air Force livery but later they will be in Royal Canadian Air Force colours.
Modifications and maintenance of the current CF-18 fleet will continue to be required until the RCAF transitions to a future fighter. A review of combat capability improvements is currently underway.
The formal request for proposals for the future Canadian fighter fleet is expected to be released in spring 2019, with a contract award in 2021-22 and deliveries to begin in 2025.