Supplementing the CF-18 fleet

Project summary

Canada requires fighter aircraft to contribute to the safety and security of Canadians and protect the sovereignty of one of the largest expanses of airspace in the world. A capability gap currently exists in the ability of the Canadian Armed Forces to simultaneously meet its NORAD and NATO fighter aircraft commitments.

The Government of Canada is taking immediate steps to address the capability gap while working toward a permanent replacement. Canada is acquiring Australian aircraft to supplement the CF-18s until a permanent fleet is fully operational.

Through this project, naval aircrew common ejection seats and modification kits, including associated parts, will be purchased through United States Foreign Military Sales.

The transport of assets from Australia to Canada, and the preparation/modification of DND facilities will be contracted through competitive commercial contracts where DND assets cannot be used.

A secondary objective of this project includes relocation of the Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment from Cold Lake to the Ottawa Airport, including hangar renovations in Ottawa and the relocation of units within the National Capital Region.

Project phases

Project currently in Phase 4: Implementation

1. Identification

1. Identification

  • N/A
2. Options analysis

2. Options analysis

  • 2016
3. Definition

3. Definition

  • Project approval: February 23, 2017
  • Receipt of first letter of cost proposal from Australia: December 1, 2017
  • Project approval (amended): December 12, 2017
4. Implementation

4. Implementation

  • First letter of proposal acceptance to Australia: December 13, 2017
  • Project Approval: November 1, 2018
  • Signature of government-to-government purchase agreement: November 9, 2018
  • First aircraft transferred to Canada: February 21, 2019
  • Initial Operational Capability: 28 June 2019
  • Final aircraft delivery: April 2021
  • Aircraft full operational capability: December 2022
  • Relocation of AETE: Fall 2023
5. Close-out

5. Close-out

  • March 2023

Learn more about the Defence procurement process.

Additional information

Project updates

Project updates

April 29, 2021
The seventeenth and eighteenth interim fighter jets arrived in Mirabel, Quebec.

April 23, 2021
The sixteenth interim fighter jet arrived in Mirabel, Quebec along with the first non-operational aircraft that will be used for spare parts.

March 18, 2021
The fourteenth and fifteenth interim fighter jets arrived in Mirabel, Quebec.

March 12, 2021
The twelfth and thirteenth interim fighter jets arrived in Mirabel, Quebec.

February 2021
In February 2021, Canada exercised an existing contract option related to the transportation of the interim fighter jets for two additional flights, which increased the contract value to $17.8M (excluding taxes).

November 28, 2020
The tenth and eleventh interim fighter jets arrived in Mirabel, Quebec.

November 20, 2020
The eighth and ninth interim fighter jets arrived in Mirabel, Quebec.

September 6, 2020
The seventh interim fighter jet arrived in Mirabel, Quebec.

August 2020
A $14.8M-contract was awarded to Momentum of Toronto, Ontario for the transport of future interim fighter jets.

June 27, 2020
The sixth interim fighter jet arrived in Mirabel, Quebec.

May 30, 2020
The fifth interim fighter jet arrived in Mirabel, Quebec.

February 13, 2020
The fourth interim fighter jet arrived in Mirabel, Quebec.

November 17, 2019
The third interim fighter jet arrived in Mirabel, Quebec.

August 1, 2019
Stand-up of RCAF Detachment at RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW, Australia.

June 28, 2019
Initial Operational Capability with supplemental aircraft was declared and the first two aircraft entered service with the RCAF.

May 22, 2019
First RCAF flight with a supplemental aircraft.

February 21, 2019
Aircraft were transferred from the Government of Australia to the Government of Canada.

February 16, 2019
The first two interim fighter jets arrived in Cold Lake, Alberta.

February 7, 2019
Foreign Military Sales case for purchase of Naval aircrew common ejection seats is approved.

November 9, 2018
The Government of Canada signed an agreement with the Government of Australia to purchase 18 flyable aircraft and up to seven non-flyable aircraft for use as spare parts and training aids.

December 12, 2017
The Government of Canada announced its intention to pursue the purchase of supplemental F-18 aircraft from Australia.

September 2017
Canada received an official offer from the U.S. government for the potential sale. Canada submitted an Expression of Interest to Australia via a formal letter.

November 22, 2016
The Government of Canada announced its intention to explore the acquisition of 18 new Super Hornet aircraft to supplement the CF-18s.


Benefiting Canadian Industry

The acquisition of Australian aircraft would continue to benefit Canada's aerospace sector as maintenance and modification work for these aircraft would be supported by Canadian industry.

The in-service support of the Australian F/A-18A/Bs is being conducted through existing contracts with Canadian industry and FMS cases. This has resulted in additional opportunities for Canadian industry that supports the CF-18 fleet.

Technical information

Technical information

Aircraft, spare parts and equipment will be maintained in the same manner as the CF-18 fleet, through existing in-service support contracts.

Project scope includes the renovation of Hangar 14 at the Ottawa Airport to support the relocation of the Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment form Cold Lake to Ottawa. To permit these renovations, current occupants need to be relocated. There have been schedule delays related to finding suitable accommodations for current occupants of Hangar 14 in Ottawa, which is necessary prior to commencing required hangar renovations.

Project costs

Project costs

The acquisition cost, including project management costs, infrastructure, contracts and contingency is estimated at $339.3 million.



COVID-19 has had an impact on all procurement projects in some form. Challenges may impact the project schedule or cost to varying degrees, as the full impacts continue to be assessed. We continue to monitor the situation closely and update the project page should any information change. In collaboration with our industry partners, we are continuing to work on mitigation measures where possible, while keeping our respective workforces safe.

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