Canadian Government Moving Military Aircraft Testing Facility Out of Cold Lake


According to a story by David Pugliese and Tyler Dawson published in the National Post on December 6, 2018, the Canadian government is establishing a new military aircraft testing facility in Ottawa and moving it from Cold Lake.

The federal government will create a new centre of excellence in Ottawa to support aircraft testing, but it will come at the cost of relocating staff and shutting down existing military facilities in Alberta.

The move affects the Canadian military’s Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment, or AETE, which has been at Cold Lake, Alta. since 1971.

Under the new plan AETE would be relocated to the international airport in Ottawa and partnered with the National Research Council Flight Research Laboratory and Transport Canada Aircraft Services Directorate to create a centre of excellence for flight testing and evaluation.

The move would affect almost one-third of the unit, which employs 166 military personnel and 22 public servants. The remaining two-thirds would be reassigned to other air force functions, said Department of National Defence spokesman Dan Le Bouthillier.

Moving AETE will save $14 million a year and free up space for the arrival of more fighter jets at Cold Lake.

Canada is in the process of purchasing used fighter aircraft from Australia and the federal government has committed to buying 88 new jets to replace the existing fleet of CF-18s.

The featured photo shows a CF-18 Hornet fighter jet takeing off from 4 Wing Cold Lake on Tuesday, October 21, 2014.