The 79th and final CF-18 Hornet has been returned following its upgrade, according to the Canadian Department of National Defence.

Boeing has been carrying out the two-phase CF-18 modernisation programme over the past nine years to improve the fleet’s effectiveness and operational capability.

Phase 1 of the project, completed in 2006 at a cost of $436m, upgraded the Canadian Hornet fleet’s avionics, radar, radio and weapons capabilities.

Phase 2 upgrades involved two prototype aircraft being completed at a cost of $150m.

The second phase included a data link system to ensure that Canadian forces were interoperable with aircraft from the US and other allied nations, and a joint helmet-mounted sueing cystem to improve weapons targeting.

It also included new colour cockpit displays to increase situational awareness and an upgraded, chaff-and-flare dispensing electronic warfare system to improve survivability.

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L-3 Electronic Systems developed and produced the upgraded crew station displays, while L-3 Communications MAS installed the upgrades on the programmes remaining 77 aircraft.