Monday, August 20, 2012

Canada Preparing to Replace its CF-18 Hornets

Canada originally bought 138 “CF-18s” from 1982-1988, but accidents and retirements have reduced the fleet to about 103, with only 79 upgraded F/A-18A/B aircraft still operational. The “CF-18” Hornets are expected to be phased out between 2017 – 2020. Until then, maintenance and upgrades will remain necessary.
Canada has been an active Tier 3 partner in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, participating in both the Concept Demonstration Phase ($10 million) and the System Development and Demonstration Phase ($150 million). This USD $160 million has included funding from both the Department of National Defence, and from Technology Partnerships Canada (TPC). In the Production, Sustainment and Follow-on Development Phase of the F-35 program, it is estimated that Canada’s contribution will exceed C$ 550 million (currently about even with USD) over 44 years. As of September 2011, the government had disbursed about C$ 335 million toward participation in the JSF Program, and related support to Canadian industry.
Now, 65 new CF-35As are Canada’s official choice to replace its Hornets – and estimates of the cost range from $17 billion to $29 billion or more. This article covers efforts to keep existing CF-18s fit for service, as well as Canada’s replacement fighter buy. As timelines continue to slip, these 2 programs will become more interdependent.

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