Oct 13, 2014
Canadian CF-18 Jet Extension Plan Will Delay F-35 Buys
The upgrade will allow the Boeing-made CF-18s to fly until 2025 and comes as Canada once again commits the aircraft to combat overseas.
The House of Commons voted Tuesday to contribute to the US-led air campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq.
Six CF-18 fighters, two CP-140 Aurora surveillance planes and around 600 personnel will be involved in the Iraq mission. An aerial tanker will also be sent to support the fighters.
Johanna Quinney, spokeswoman for Defence Minister Rob Nicholson, said the CF-18 modernization project is expected to run from 2016 to 2019.
The program will include replacing some flight controls, as well as structural and avionics upgrades.
The modernization program signals a further delay for Canada’s proposed purchase of the F-35. Canada was to have received its first F-35s in 2016, later delayed to 2017 and then to 2018.
The purchase is still on hold as the government examines options.
Canada flies 78 modernized CF-18 fighters. Canada was planning to replace those with the conventional take-off and landing version of the F-35.