F-35 or Not: This Country Needs 88 New Fighter Jets Before Its Air Force Falls Apart

David Axe

David Axe

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F-35 or Not: This Country Needs 88 New Fighter Jets Before Its Air Force Falls Apart

Canada for the third time in a decade is trying to replace its aging F/A-18A/B Hornet fighter jets. With every year the acquisition effort drags on, the condition of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s fast-jet fleet grows direr.

“The politically-charged competition to replace Canada's aging fleet of fighter jets will rocket forward at the end of May [2019] as the federal government releases a long-anticipated, full-fledged tender call,” Murray Brewster reported for CBC News.

Four companies are vying for the multibillion-dollar contract for as many as 88 fighters that would replace the RCAF’s 1980s-vintage Hornets, which in Canadian service are designated “CF-18.”

Saab, Airbus, Boeing and Lockheed Martin all are in the running, respectively offering the Gripen, Eurofighter, F/A-18E/F and F-35A. The manufacturers will have until the end of 2019 to submit bids, CBC News reported. But the RCAF hardly can wait.

The RCAF acquired 138 F/A-18A/Bs from McDonnell Douglas starting in 1982. In early 2019, 85 of the original Hornets, all more than 30 years old, comprise Canada's entire fighter fleet. The Canadian Hornets are unreliable and lack modern systems.

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