Canada has planned to install its own software onto the used F-18 multirole combat aircraft it procured from Australia last year.
The jets will also be installed with new ejection seats and lighting system which are currently being used on the Royal Canadian Air Force’s CF-18s, Ottawa Citizen reported Sunday.
The Justin Trudeau government had signed a deal to purchase 18 old Australian F-18s as an interim measure to bolster the air force until the entire Canadian fleet of CF-18s is replaced. The other seven Australian jets will be used for testing and spare parts.
“The first two F-18 aircraft will be delivered to Canada in spring. They (the Australians) will remove their software and we’ll install our software. Ultimately the intent is the 18 aircraft are indistinguishable from our 76 aircraft,” the newspaper quoted Pat Finn, assistant deputy minister for materiel at the Department of National Defence as saying Sunday.
The government had originally planned to buy 18 new Super Hornet fighter jets from Boeing for $5 billion.
In 2017, Boeing complained to the US (United States) that Canadian subsidies for Bombardier company allowed it to sell its C-series civilian passenger aircraft in the US at cut-rate prices. This resulted in the Trump administration increasing tariff by 300 per cent against Bombardier aircraft sold in the US. Canada then cancelled the deal to purchase Boeing aircraft to acquire old Australian jets.
“The Australian F/A-18s will need modifications and upgrades to allow them to fly until 2032. These modifications will bring the F/A-18s to the same level as the CF-18s but will not improve the CF-18’s combat capability,” the newspaper quoted a report issued by Auditor General Michael Ferguson in November 2018 as stating Sunday.