Canadian Government Selects F-35a As Fighter Jet Replacement

Four F-35A Lightnining fighter jets in formation flight.
U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Donald R. Allen, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – On March 29, it has been announced that the Canadian Government has selected its fighter aircraft replacement. The replacement has been chosen as Lockheed Martin’s F-35A fighter jet.

What this means for Canada…

As part of the Canadian Governments Future Fighter Capability Project (FFCP), to begin upgrading their military capability the Lockheed Martin F-35A has been chosen to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) existing CF-188 Hornet.

The F-35A was chosen out of an initial list of five different fighter jets, however, over the course of three years, the Canadian Government rattled that list down to just the F-35A.

The four other fighters were the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab Gripen, and Dassault Rafale.

It is worth noting that this is the second time the Canadian Government has selected the F-35A for its fighter replacement, there was an original order for 65 of the type placed back in 2010 under the Stephen Harper administration.

However, this order was canceled after Justin Trudeau’s entrance in 2015 following a pledge they had made during the election phase that they would review Canada’s next fighter jet as part of a compatibility project.

Following the F-35A being selected, the Canadian Government will now begin to finalize the procurement for a total of 88 of the type of which the first deliveries of the F-35A for the RCAF are expected in 2025.

The aircraft will be split among two different squadrons. These are, RCAF 3 Wing based out of Bagotville, Quebec, and RCAF 4 Wing which is based out of Cold Lake, Alberta.

Anita Anand, Canada’s Minister for National Defence said, “It is critical that current and future Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) pilots have the most advanced equipment available to ensure they can deliver on the important work that we ask of them.”

“This procurement project for the RCAF, the largest in over three decades, will help ensure Canada can continue to defend North America, enhance our Arctic sovereignty, and meet our NATO and NORAD obligations in the face of current and emerging threats.”

“Canadians can be confident that this competitive process will deliver the best results for our Canadian Armed Forces for decades to come.”

Comparing the new order of 88 F-35As to their existing fleet, the RCAF currently has roughly 80 CF-188 Hornets at its fingertips as well as 18 F/A-18 Hornets.

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II

The F-35A is one of three variants that Lockheed Martin offers as part of their F-35 program, the other two variants being the F-35B and F-35C.

The F-35A is considered as the main usual variant for your conventional fighter jet, whereas the F-35B is the short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) enabling the aircraft to be capable of vertical flight with the use of its Shaft Driven Lift Fan (SDLF).

The F-35C variant is that one that is capable of aircraft carrier catapult-assisted takeoffs and arrested recovery for landings via the use of a deployable hook. Not only this but the F-35C also has larger wings with foldable wingtips, compared to the F-35A’s standard wings.

The larger wings allow for improved low-speed control which will significantly help when landing on the very short landing sections on an aircraft carrier compared to an airbase.

Currently, the F-35 is in operation in nine different countries those are, Australia, Denmark, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and of course the United States.

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