Replacing and supplementing Canada's CF-18 fleet

In November 2016, the Government of Canada announced a 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.

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.

Until a permanent replacement arrives, we are also exploring other options to supplement our CF-18 fleet.

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

On this page

Permanent replacement

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.

Status of replacement process

Preparatory work for the competition is already underway. In the coming months, we will be engaging prospective suppliers and undertaking planning for a bid solicitation in 2019.

Exploring an interim solution

The Government of Canada continues to explore the various potential options to supplement the CF-18 fleet. One of those options involves the purchase of Super Hornet aircraft from the United States.

Discussions are ongoing with the United States (U.S.) government to determine if it can provide an interim solution at a cost, schedule and level of capability that are acceptable to Canada. If the purchase proceeds, Super Hornet aircraft and associated in-service support would be procured through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program, which allows the purchase of defence articles controlled by the U.S. under the Arms Export Control Act.

On March 13, 2017, Canada submitted a letter of request to the U.S. 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

On September 12, 2017, the U.S. Department of State notified the United States Congress about the possible sale to Canada of 18 Super Hornet aircraft and associated in-service support, training and weapons. The potential sale is now being reviewed by the U.S. Congress.

Next Steps

In fall 2017, Canada expects to receive an official offer from the U.S. government for the potential sale.

We will review the offer to ensure it meets Canada's interim requirements at a cost, schedule and level of capability acceptable to Canada. Canada is under no obligation to purchase the goods and services provided in the U.S. offer.

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

Other options being explored

In parallel to the ongoing discussions with the U.S. government, Canada is exploring other options for supplementing the current CF-18 fleet and addressing the capability gap.

In light of Australia recently notifying Allies about their intent to dispose of F-18s, Canada recently visited with the Australians to inquire about the state of their equipment and spare parts.

More information

CF-18 Replacement Project

Date modified: