CANADA HAS taken delivery of the first two of a total of 25 F/A-18A/B Hornets being acquired from the Government of Australia. The two ex-Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) aircraft, single-seat F/A-18As A21-53 and A21-55 (to be RCAF serials 188053 and 188055 respectively), arrived at Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake, Alberta, today, February 17, after being flown in by RAAF pilots from Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, where they had been participating in Exercise Red Flag 19-1. The aircraft are being acquired as an interim measure to bolster the existing RCAF CF-18s pending the replacement of the entire Hornet fleet with new fighters.
Of the 25 Hornets being acquired, 18 will be brought up to a similar configuration to the RCAF Hornets before entering service, while the remaining seven will be used for testing and spares. Modifications and technical work on the first two aircraft will begin immediately so they can be brought to a similar configuration to Canada’s CF-18 aircraft.
Deliveries will continue at regular intervals for the next three years and aircraft will be integrated into the CF-18 fleet as modifications are completed. The final aircraft are expected to arrive by the end of 2021. The aircraft will enter service with 3 Wing Bagotville and 4 Wing Cold Lake.
Canada continues to make progress toward replacing its fighter fleet. The formal request for proposals for the future fighter fleet is expected to be released in spring 2019, with a contract award in 2021-22 and deliveries to begin in 2025.