Replacing and supplementing Canada's CF-18 fleet

The Government of Canada committed to replacing Canada's fleet of CF-18 fighter aircraft through an open and transparent competition. Until a permanent replacement arrives, we are exploring supplementing our existing fleet with 18 Super Hornet aircraft.

Consult this web page often to stay informed about the competition to permanently replace our fighter fleet and the possible purchase of interim Super Hornet aircraft.

On this page

Permanent replacement of the current fleet

In November 2016, the Government of Canada announces plan to replace fighter jet fleet, and committed to launching an open and transparent competition to purchase a permanent replacement for our fleet of CF-18 fighter aircraft.

Timeline of the competitive process

An open and transparent competition will be launched within the government's current mandate.

On June 7, 2017, Canada’s Defence Policy: Strong, Secure, Engaged reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to invest appropriately in Canada’s military, including the procurement of 88 new advanced fighter aircraft for the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) Policy will be applied to this procurement. The objective of the policy is to maximize opportunities for Canadian companies, support innovation through research and development, and grow export opportunities from Canada.

Preparatory work for the competition is already underway. We will be engaging prospective suppliers and undertaking planning for a bid solicitation in 2019. As the process moves along, we will provide regular updates.

Exploring an interim solution

When the government announced the launch of a competition to replace our fleet of CF-18 fighter aircraft, it also committed to exploring the purchase of 18 new Boeing Super Hornet aircraft to supplement that fleet until the permanent replacement is in place and fully operational.

Purchasing interim aircraft

Fighter aircraft and their component systems are heavily controlled goods, and purchasing them requires collaboration with foreign governments and the defence and security industry.

We have been meeting regularly with the United States government and Boeing to discuss the possible purchase.

If the purchase proceeds, Super Hornet aircraft and associated in-service support would be procured through the United States Foreign Military Sales program. This program offers the primary means by which we can purchase defence articles controlled by the United States under the Arms Export Control Act, and can offer cost and schedule benefits by allowing us to join with the United States in its purchasing activity. Under this program, the United States Department of Defense is the supplier to partner countries.

An interim solution must meet Canada's requirements at a cost, schedule, level of capability and economic benefits acceptable to Canada.

Maximizing economic benefits for Canada

The potential interim procurement of 18 Super Hornets could help grow Canada's aerospace and defence sector, create high-quality jobs for the middle class and support Canadian innovation. The Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy will require potential contractors to make investments in Canada equal to the value of the contract.

Under the United States Foreign Military Sales program, defence equipment is procured through a government-to-government agreement, whereby the United States Department of Defense is the supplier. For a potential interim procurement, economic benefits for Canada would be secured through separate agreements directly with potential United States government contractors.

Timeline of the interim process

Consult the timeline of activities we expect to conduct in 2017. We will provide regular updates.

Winter and spring 2017

Ongoing meetings with the United States government and Boeing

We are discussing the possible purchase of Super Hornet aircraft. On March 13, 2017, Canada submitted a letter of request to the United States government as part of the process. The letter outlines Canada's requirements for the interim aircraft and associated in-service support.

Government of Canada announces next steps in potential procurement of interim fighter capability

The acquisition of an interim capability for Canada will include 18 Super Hornet aircraft plus associated in-service support and the necessary weapon systems. Canada has outlined its requirements through ongoing discussions and formal requests to the United States government and associated defence suppliers.

Consultations with representatives of other governments

We met with representatives of the Australian government, who shared their lessons learned regarding their 2007 purchase of Super Hornet aircraft as an interim replacement for their existing fleet.

Ongoing meetings with the United States Navy

We are discussing costing and training concepts.

Engaging with potential suppliers

We are engaging with potential United States government contractors regarding side agreements on economic benefits.

Summer and fall 2017

We expect the following events to occur:

The United States government takes its necessary steps

After the United States Department of Defense receives our letter of request, it will:

These steps usually take six to eight months to complete.

The United States government response

A letter of offer and acceptance is expected as early as fall 2017, which is a response from the United States government outlining how it would meet Canada's requirements.

Reviewing and finalizing Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy side agreements

Prior to signing any agreement with the United States government, we will review and finalize side agreements with potential United States government contractors to ensure they maximize economic benefits for Canadian industry.

Reviewing the letter of offer and acceptance

The government will ensure the offer meets Canada's requirements at a cost, schedule and level of capability acceptable to Canada.

Signing an agreement with the United States government

The Government of Canada may sign an agreement to purchase 18 new Super Hornet aircraft and elements of associated in-service support as soon as the end of 2017 or early 2018.

More information

CF-18 Replacement Project

Date modified:
2017-07-05