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CF-18 Modernization (Canada)


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Defence Minister Kicks Off Phase II of CF-18 Upgrades

NR-05.016 - February 18, 2005

 

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OTTAWA — The second phase of the CF-18 Modernization Project kicked off today during a ceremony that saw the Boeing Company sign a contract with the Department of National Defence for $117 million. Defence Minister Bill Graham and Lieutenant-General Ken Pennie, Chief of the Air Staff, attended the ceremony held by Boeing in Mirabel, Québec.

 

“The CF-18 is Canada’s primary aircraft for maintaining air defence and air superiority,” said Minister Graham. “The $2.1-billion CF-18 modernization program will ensure that the CF-18s continue to provide security to Canadians and defend Canada, both at home and abroad, well into the future.”

 

The fighter jets will be equipped with a secure data and communications link that allows CF-18 crews to stay in constant contact with other jets, ground stations, and airborne warning and control systems (AWACS) to maintain awareness in their constantly evolving environment. New state-of-the-art colour display panels will provide pilots with improved access to flight data and communications. Their helmets will feature new visors that display readings from the instrument panel, so that pilots can maintain visual contact with a target and not look down. The aircraft will also be outfitted with a new missile countermeasures chaff/flare dispenser.

 

“This contract will ensure we have up-to-date aircraft and increased interoperability with our allies,” said Lieutenant-General Pennie. “The CF-18 is key to the Air Force’s job of guarding North American airspace and protecting Canada’s interests abroad.”

 

The modernization program, based on the US Navy’s F-18 Hornet upgrade, was found to be the most cost-effective and lowest risk solution for modernizing Canada’s CF-18s. The first phase of modernization, also contracted to Boeing, has just passed the midway point and is on target for completion in 2006.

 

Backgrounder:

 

CF-18 Modernization

BG-05.003 - February 18, 2005

 

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A total of 80 CF-18 Hornetaircraft are undergoing a thorough mid-life upgrade to ensure that the Canadian Forces have a modern and interoperable fighter fleet until 2017. Various modernization projects are combined in two distinct phases of the overall aircraft modernization program.

 

Of the 138 CF-18s procured between 1982 and 1988, 121 aircraft remain: 15 were lost to accidents, one aircraft was rendered unflyable as part of testing procedures, and one aircraft (number 901) has been inducted into the Canada Aviation Museum. A total of 92 aircraft will be kept operational until the Phase I modernization of a total of 80 CF-18s is completed in 2006. Of the surplus aircraft, several will be retained for spare parts, and the others likely will be offered up for sale. At this time, none of these aircraft formally has been declared surplus.

 

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The Role of the CF-18

In order to maintain the capability to protect Canadian sovereignty, to contribute to collective defence of North America within the NORAD agreement, and to provide a credible contribution to UN, NATO, and coalition-led peace operations, Canada’s fighter force needs to be modernized.

 

The CF-18 is a proven and durable fighter aircraft. Today, Canadian Air Force CF-18s, their pilots, and aircrews are deployed with NORAD, ready to respond to threats to North America.

 

Modernizing the CF-18 fleet will support an extended operational viability to at least 2017. This delays the need to acquire a replacement fighter aircraft while saving billions of dollars in the process.

 

The CF-18 is a modern and capable fighter aircraft with a secure communications capability, which is, however, not fully inter-operable with our Allies. With the completion of Phase I of the Incremental Modernization Project in 2006, the CF-18 will achieve secure communication inter-operability.

 

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Phase I of Modernization

This first phase of CF-18 modernization is a cornerstone project that entails the procurement and installation of a new radar, “Have-Quick” jam-resistant radios, Combined Interrogator/ Transponders, Stores Management Systems, Mission Computers and Embedded Global Positioning Systems/Inertial Navigation Systems.

 

The upgrade is based on a US Navy Engineering Change Proposal (ECP 583) and is the most cost effective, minimum-risk method to satisfy the CF-18 modernization requirements. The system has not only has been tested extensively, but has flown operationally.

 

A new infra-red sensor, night vision imaging system, advanced air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons and a new advanced distributed combat training simulation system will be procured in parallel with Phase I.

 

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Phase II of Modernization

The Phase II $117 million contract with Boeing will outfit Canada’s CF-18s with new equipment. The fighter jets will be equipped with a secure data and communications link that allows CF-18 crews to stay in constant contact with other jets, ground stations and airborne warning and control systems (AWACS) to maintain awareness in their constantly evolving environment. New state-of-the-art colour display panels will provide pilots with improved access to flight data and communications. The colour displays will significantly improve the pilots’ ability to refine the reams of data they receive. Pilots’ helmets will be outfitted with new visors that display readings from the instrument panel, so that they can maintain visual contact with a target and not look down. The aircraft will also be outfitted with a new missile countermeasures chaff/flare dispenser. Work will begin in October 2006. Additional contracts for training, spares and installations will be awarded at a later date.

 

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Off-Aircraft Projects

In addition to the two modernization phases for CF-18 aircraft, other off-aircraft projects are in various stages of development or implementation include: the Air Combat Manoeuvring Instrumentation System; the Night-Vision Imagery System; the Advanced Distributed Combat Training System; the Advanced Multi-Role Infrared Sensor; a new Defensive Electronics Warfare Defense Suite; and Advanced Precision-Guided Munitions.

 

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Modernization Program Costs

The entire modernization program, phased over eight years, will create employment and technology development opportunities for Canadians. Although the overall cost of the project has not been finalized, approvals to date total approximately $2.1-billion.

 

The value of the Phase I contract with Boeing is $880-million. L-3 Communications has been sub-contracted by Boeing to carry out the Phase I installations at its Mirabel plant outside Montréal, Québec. The Phase II project contract is valued at $117-million.

 

Canada’s is not the only Air Force conducting a wholesale upgrade to the Hornet. The Royal Australian Air Force, the United State Marine corps and the United States Navy are also extending the life of their F-18s.

 

The new multi-purpose displays were developed as a cooperative project between Canada and Australia, resulting in a significant cost savings for Canada. Since the Royal Australian Air Force had already contracted Boeing for work on their F/A-18 A & B aircraft, selecting the same prime contractor minimized project risk.

 

CF-18 Modernization is a fiscally responsible and financially feasible method of continuing to provide Canada with a safe, reliable and effective fighter aircraft fleet. It will provide the Canadian Forces with up-to-date equipment, increase Air Force interoperability with our allies and enhance CF flexibility to meet future national and global missions.

 

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Is the official designation CF-188 or CF-18?

 

The fighter jets will be equipped with a secure data and communications link (...)

 

Link 16 JTIDS?

 

Wich are the new BVRAAM, AIM-120C or, as sometimes heard, Meteor?

I've heard too that the Sidewinders will be replaced by Asraam, exact?

 

In the second pic, isn't there some Mavericks (second line from the bottom) and Paveway III just behind?

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