The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) has received the first two F/A-18 AB Hornet fighter aircraft at Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake in Alberta from Australia.
Last year, The Australian Government agreed to sell up to 25 aircraft to Canada along with spares and support equipment.
The first two Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18 AB Hornet fighter aircraft arrived in Canada from Nellis, Nevada, US, where they participated in Exercise Red Flag 2019.
Australia Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said: “Australia and Canada have a longstanding defence relationship and this sale is an excellent example of our mutual commitment towards supporting our respective defence capabilities.
“These jets have served Australia very well and will now continue to make a positive contribution to the air combat capability of one of our closest allies.”
According to the Canadian Department of National Defence, the aircraft are the same type as Canada’s exiting CF-18 Hornet fleet and the procurement will help sustain the fleet.
The RCAF will request Canadian companies to carry out modifications and technical work on the aircraft to bring them to a similar configuration to the CF-18 aircraft. The F/A-18 will be integrated into the fleet once the work is completed.
Canada Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said: “The interim fighter fleet is key to ensuring the Royal Canadian Air Force can continue to fulfil their missions and ensure the safety of Canadians and Canada.
“We are familiar with these aircraft and are confident that they can provide the additional support our current fleet requires.”
Canada is pushing ahead with its plans to replace the entire CF-18 fleet and will continue to undertake modifications and maintenance until a future fighter is inducted.
The government expects to launch a formal request for proposals for the future fighter fleet later this year. A contract award is expected in 2021-22, with deliveries set to take place in 2025.