Two interim CF-18 hornets arrive at 4-Wing

Image supplied by Canadian Forces: Members of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), the Royal Canadian Air Force and representatives of the Interim Fighter Capability Project stand in front of the newly arrived RAAF F/A-18 to mark the first interim fighter aircraft inside Hangar 1 at 4 Wing Cold Lake on February 17. 

The first of Canada’s purchased CF-18 Hornets from Australia arrived at 4 Wing Military Base over the weekend.

These two used fighter jets will be used while the Interim Fighter Capability Project works on replacing the entire CF-18 fleet.

Eighteen total aircraft will come to Canada over the next three years.

“The interim fighter fleet is key to ensuring the Royal Canadian Air Force can continue to fulfill their missions and ensure the safety of Canadians and Canada,” said Harjit S. Sajjan, Defence Minister.

“We are familiar with these aircraft and are confident that they can provide the additional support our current fleet requires. They were flown in yesterday by the Royal Australian Air Force and I look forward to seeing them fly again soon in our Canadian colours.”

The Royal Canadian Air Force says that modifications and maintenance of the current CF-18 fleet will continue to be required until they transition to a future fighter.

A review of combat capability improvements is currently underway.

The first Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18A, delivered as part of the Interim Fighter Capability Project, sits in front of a crowd of Canadian Armed Forces members, Royal Australian Air Force members and members of the public inside 1 Hangar, 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta on February 17, 2019.

It’s expected that proposals for future fighters will be formally requested this spring, with a contract awarded in 2021-22 and deliveries to begin in 2025.

“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 aircraft will be employed at 3 Wing Bagotville and 4 Wing Cold Lake as recruitment efforts continue to ensure the RCAF achieves the right number and experience levels of pilots and technicians.

These single-seat aircraft were flown from Nellis, Nevada, where they were participating in Exercise RED FLAG.

The federal government will move military aircraft testing from Cold Lake to Ottawa in the future.

Moving the centre of excellence means jobs will be leaving Cold Lake.