The first CF-18 fighter jets purchased from Australia arrived in the Lakeland on Sunday. 4 Wing Cold Lake welcomed two jets that were acquired from the Royal Australian Air Force. The Royal Canadian Air Force says it expects 16 other fighter as well as parts and equipment in the deal. All 18 are expected in Canada by 2021.
The purchase of the planes is part of an “interim fighter fleet” put together by the RCAF and government of Canada. Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says the fighters will help with RCAF operations for the next few years.
“The interim fighter fleet is key to ensuring the Royal Canadian Air Force can continue to fulfill their missions and ensure the safety of Canadians and Canada. We are familiar with these aircraft and are confident that they can provide the additional support our current fleet requires. They were flown in yesterday by the Royal Australian Air Force and I look forward to seeing them fly again soon in our Canadian colours.”
The planes made their way from Nevada where they were conducting exercises with the United States Air Force. They will serve with 4 Wing as well as 3 Wing at CFB Bagotville in Quebec.
The Canadian government is expected to put forth a request for replacement of the ageing CF-18 fleet this year. The RCAF has flown the CF-18 as its main fighter aircraft since 1983.