The first two Australian fighters arrived at Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake in Alberta last week, and are expected to be ready for operations following some conversion work in the coming months.
That work will include taking out the engines, ejection seats and targeting pods, which are being swapped with Canadian versions and shipped back to Australia, Defence Department procurement chief Patrick Finn revealed Thursday to the Commons’ defence committee.
The Australian versions of those components are different from their Canadian counterparts, Finn said, adding Canada has enough spares from the dozens of CF-18s it has retired over the years.
The move will save time and money over the long run, he said, as pilots and mechanics don’t need to be retrained on the Australian equipment and the military won’t need to buy new spare parts…..
The Liberals had promised during the 2015 federal election to launch an immediate competition to replace the CF-18s, but that still has not happened. They also promised not to buy the F-35, but have since decided to let it compete with other models to be the CF-18s’ long-term replacement.
The first replacement for the CF-18s isn’t expected until 2025, with the last to be delivered in 2031.
For the rest of the story published on March 1, 2019, see the following: