Canada Finalizes Deal for Australian F-18s

Canada has finalized a deal for 25 second-hand F/A-18A/B Hornets being bought from Australia.  The first aircraft are expected to arrive in the spring, and begin operations with the Canadian forces this summer, according to Pat Finn, assistant deputy minister for materiel at the Department of National Defence.  A second group of aircraft will arrive later in the year.  Overall, 18 of the used jets will make their way into operational service, while seven airframes will be used for testing or harvested for spare parts.  Ottawa is also purchasing additional spares as part of the deal. 

The aircraft are being purchased for CAD90 million, but Canada estimates it will cost around CAD500 million to own and operate the aircraft, including personnel, infrastructure, and aircraft upgrade costs.   

The first modification when the aircraft arrive will be to install Canadian flight software, and to install ejections seats and lighting systems used by Canada’s existing CF-18 fleet.  The goal is for the aircraft to become identical to the current fleet. 

Canada is in the process of finding a replacement for its CF-18s, but the second-hand aircraft were purchased to fill a new capability gap identified by the government.  Some have questioned the rationale behind buying and upgrading old aircraft while simultaneously pursuing a replacement fighter.   

About Shaun McDougall

As editor of International Military Markets, North America, Shaun has cultivated a deep understanding of the vast defense markets in the United States and Canada. Shaun's perspective on defense procurement and budget issues has been cited in a variety of defense periodicals, including Defense News and National Defense Magazine. Further, Shaun played an integral role in the development of Forecast International's U.S. Defense Budget Forecast product, which offers an unprecedented level of insight into the Pentagon's acquisition budget. In addition to providing original analytical content for the U.S. Defense Budget Forecast, Shaun oversees an internal defense budget forecasting process involving Forecast International's team of skilled systems analysts following release of the DoD's annual budget request. Shaun is also in charge of managing Forecast International's Weapons Inventory database.

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