Canada moves on CF-18 fleet replacement
Canada’s National Fighter Procurement Secretariat has kicked off its replacement of the CF-18 fleet with the issuing of a draft questionnaire to five companies on the capabilities of available fighter aircraft.
The questionnaire was issued to Boeing, Dassault Aviation, EADS Eurofighter, Lockheed Martin and Saab, all of which have or will have aircraft in production during the programme’s period.
The Canadian government issued a 'Seven-Point Plan' in response to the auditor general's 2012 report 'Replacing Canada's Fighter Jets'. The plan will assist the government in making the best possible decision on replacing Canada's fleet of CF-18 fighter aircraft.
According to the National Fighter Procurement Secretariat, the five companies will be asked to provide comments on the form and content of the draft questionnaire. The draft questionnaire seeks detailed information on technical capabilities of fighter aircraft in production or scheduled to be in production. After feedback from the companies is reviewed and incorporated, a final questionnaire will be sent to the companies for completion.
The National Fighter Procurement Secretariat will work with the Independent Review Panel to ensure that all of the work supporting the evaluation of options is both rigorous and impartial. A second questionnaire to obtain information on costs and the potential benefits to Canadian industry will be developed and reviewed by the Independent Review Panel, and subsequently sent in draft form to industry for comment.
Boeing completed the CF-18 Modernization Project in March 2010 with delivery of the 79th upgraded CF-18 Hornet aircraft to Canada’s defence forces. The two-phase, nine-year incremental upgrade of Canada’s CF-18 Hornet fleet was carried out to ensure the aircraft would remain an effective and operationally credible fighter force.
The fleet was expected to be phased out from 2017 and replaced by the F-35, but with this programme now in doubt the government is exploring its options in the market.
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