Canada has formally expressed its interest in acquiring soon-to-retired Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 ‘classic’ Hornets as it explores options to supplement its ageing CF-18 fleet.
According to a statement from Public Services and Procurement Canada dated October 9, Canada entered discussions with the Australian Government in late August to assess the potential purchase of Hornet aircraft and associated parts as the RAAF looks to retire the type from late next year.
Canada submitted an expression of interest (EOI) on September 29 that formally registered its interest in the aircraft.
“Canada expects to receive a response by the end of this year that will provide details regarding the availability and cost of the aircraft and associated parts that Canada is considering,” the statement read.
“Until an open and transparent competition can be completed to replace Canada’s legacy CF-18 fleet, Canada is exploring options to supplement the current CF-18 fleet and address an existing fighter capability gap,” the statement said.
Canada had been considering a purchase of Boeing Super Hornets to address that fighter capability gap, and the possible sale to Canada of 10 F/A-18E and eight F/A-18F Super Hornets was approved by the US Department of State, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency stated on September 12.
However, the Public Services and Procurement Canada statement declared that while the Canadian government is continuing to engage with the US government as it looks at “all options moving forward”, discussions with Boeing relating to the interim Super Hornet purchase “remain suspended”.
That follows a complaint by Boeing to the US International Trade Commission that Canada’s Bombardier sells its CSeries airliner at unfairly low prices due to receiving Canadian federal and provincial government subsidies. Both the International Trade Commission and the US Department of Commerce have recommended that tariffs be applied to the sale of CSeries aircraft in the US.
Delta Airlines has ordered up to 125 CSeries aircraft.