Competition for Canadian Air Force dollar heats up

Competition for Canadian Air Force dollar heats up

A Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 Hornet, takes of from RAAF Base Tindal. Image via Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence.

While Canada is considering purchasing Australia’s F/A-18 classic Hornets, the US State Department has approved a potential sale of Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets to their northern neighbours.

The proposed sale would include 10 single-seat F/A-18Es and eight two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft, along with a host of equipment including 100 Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II missiles, according to the State Department notice.

Canada is looking to bolster its own fleet of CF-18A/B Hornets until it decides on a permanent replacement, and recently confirmed representatives met with Australia to inquire about the aircraft, Canada's Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan's office said in a statement.

"In light of Australia recently notifying all allies about their intent to dispose of their F-18 fleet, Canada visited them to inquire about the state of their equipment and spare parts," the statement said.

"It is too early to provide detailed information about other options."

Last year, Canada announced plans to buy 18 Super Hornets as an interim solution for replacing a subset of the CF-18 Hornet fleet due for retirement within five years, but talks with Boeing over the planned acquisition were suspended by Canada after Boeing launched a trade challenge against Canadian plane-maker Bombardier in April.

The proposed sale and US support of the equipment puts Canada under no obligation to purchase the aircraft.

Austraia's 71 F/A-18A/B Hornets will be replaced with 72 fifth-generation F-35A Lightning II aircraft from 2018.

Competition for Canadian Air Force dollar heats up
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