The Government of Canada has revealed plans to launch a competition for procuring Super Hornet aircraft to replace the existing fleet of CF-18 fighter aircraft.
Canada is planning to acquire 18 Super Hornet aircraft from Boeing for an interim period, as the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) faces a capability gap.
The 30-year old CF-18 fighter aircraft fleet of the country has come down from 138 to 77.
The competition will cover both the acquisition of and in-service support for the new fleet, according to a statement posted on Government of Canada's website.
Canada Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan said: “Every Government has to decide the level of risk they are willing to accept to Canada, and our women and men in uniform.
“Having to manage our commitments to NORAD, Nato, and our ability to respond to unforeseen events is not a risk this Government is willing to accept. The interim fleet provides the most effective way forward to help ensure Canada remains a credible and dependable ally.”
Canada will begin talks with the US Government and Boeing to determine if the latter can provide the interim solution at a cost, time, and level of capability that are acceptable to Canada.
Canada Public Services and Procurement Minister Judy Foote added: “As we promised, our Government will be conducting an open and transparent competition to replace the long-serving CF-18 jets.
“We will also begin discussions with Boeing for the purchase of an interim fleet to deal with the capability gap.
"This is about getting our women and men in uniform the equipment they need to do their jobs and protect Canadians in the most effective way possible while maximising economic benefits for the middle class and those working hard to join it.”
The F/A-18 Super Hornet is a twin-engine, supersonic, all weather multirole fighter jet that is capable of landing and taking off from an aircraft carrier.
The aircraft is fitted with conformal fuel tanks, an enclosed weapons pod, an enhanced engine and a reduced radar signature, Boeing said in a statement.
Image: A F/A-18F Super Hornet during a supersonic test flight. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo by Liz Goettee.