Canada plans to make do with a smaller but more modern fleet of aircraft and helicopters in an effort to cut costs.

By the end of next year, the number of active aircraft will shrink to 280, from 480 six months ago when 119 Canadair CT-114 Tutor trainers were retired, leaving just 17.

The number of Boeing CF-18 Hornet fighters, the backbone of the Air Command, will be cut from 125 to 80, while Lockheed Martin CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol aircraft numbers will drop by five to 16. Remaining CF-18s will receive an avionics upgrade as part of a $726 million modernisation programme (Flight International, 9-15 January). The Auroras are also being upgraded in a series of modification programmes.

Other cuts will see the fleet of 99 Bell CH-146 Griffon helicopters being reduced to 75 while Canada's seven de Havilland CC-115 Buffaloes are being retired.


All 33 Canadian Forces Lockheed Martin CC-130 Hercules will be retained, but their annual flying rate will be reduced by about 1,500h. "We're looking at future strategic airlift capabilities which may replace some of the Hercules by some undetermined aircraft," says Gen Doug Langton, head of air force development. "And despite the reduction in aircraft numbers, our capabilities will in fact increase due to our modernisation programme." Canada has been briefed on the European A400M and Boeing C-17.

"What we are doing is investing in and modernising and upgrading our air force," defence minister Art Eggleton told Parliament.

Source: Flight International