Eurofighter is set to throw its hat into the ring in a bid to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Boeing (formerly McDonnell Douglas) CF-188A/B Hornet multi-role fighter fleet.

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) submitted a draft request for proposal, beginning the process of the replacement programme for its ageing fleet of 88 CF-188A/B Hornet fighters in October 2018. The air arm listed five suppliers that were eligible to compete, including;

  • Airbus Defence and Space, BAe Systems and Leonardo (Eurofighter Typhoon) 
  • Boeing Defence (F-15E Strike Eagle and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet)
  • Dassault Aviation (Rafale)
  • Lockheed Martin (F-16V Fighting Falcon and F-35A/B Lightning II)
  • SAAB (JAS-39E Gripen)

Canada are expecting to receive initial proposals from eligible competitors by the end of 2019, with the contract set to be awarded between 2021 and 2022. The country aims to have its first aircraft delivered by 2025, with deliveries concluding by 2031/ 2032 at the latest – bringing it in line with the CF-188A/B’s scheduled retirement date.

“We want to propose the Typhoon, the most advanced multi, swing-role fighter on the market today.”

Simon Jacques, President of Airbus Defence and Space Canada.

At a company event in Montreal, President of Airbus Defence and Space Canada, Simon Jacques, told CTV News that Airbus is “evaluating options” to open a production line for the Eurofighter Typhoon in Canada, if the country opted to go with the delta-winged fighter.

“We want to propose the Typhoon, the most advanced multi, swing-role fighter on the market today,” he added.

Airbus Group currently has an assembly line in Mirabel, Quebec, where it produces its A220 narrow-bodied twin-engine jet airliners. Formerly known as the Bombardier C-Series, the airliner was acquired by Airbus in July 2018 after it purchased 50.01% of the type’s majority stake.

Canada were initially going to replace its CF-188A/B fleet with Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II, after partnering with the Joint Strike Fighter programme in 1997. However, in 2012, Canada pulled out of the programme, citing rising costs as the reason. The country are still considering the F-35 as a replacement option though.

A Royal Canadian Air Force Boeing CF-188A Hornet [Reg: 16-8783 ‘783’] of the 433 Tactical Fighter Squadron (nicknamed the “Porcupines”) on static display at the RAF Scampton Air Show 2017. Image – Khalem Chapman ©

Canada’s CF-188A/B Hornets entered operational service in January 1983 and now serve as the RCAF’s mainstay multi-role fighter force. RCAF aircraft took part in Gulf War operations and have operated over Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Libya and Iraq. Canadian CF-188A/B’s have also been involved in NATO Air Policing missions over the Baltic states in recent years.

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By Khalem Chapman (23/01/2019)
Featured image: A Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon FGR.4 [Reg: ZK334 ‘A’] of 1(F) Squadron taxis to depart RAF Fairford after attending RIAT 2017. Image – Khalem Chapman ©.