Australia’s Department of Defence (DoD) has confirmed a deal to sell Canada up to 25 surplus Boeing F/A-18 A/B “Classic” Hornet fighters.
“Defence can confirm that under the current arrangement, if the full scope of aircraft is acquired, the sale price is worth up to A$95 million ($68 million) and includes a range of spare parts and equipment as agreed with Canada,” says the DoD.
“A purchasing agreement is in place with the transfer of assets occurring over the next three years.”
The statement follows media reports in Canada that the deal, first mooted in 2017, has been confirmed by Ottawa.
The plan calls for 18 airframes to serve as combat assets with the Royal Canadian Air Force, with seven used for spare parts and testing.
Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the RCAF operates 60 single seat CF-18As with an average age of 32.6 years, and 25 two-seat CF-18Bs with an average age of 32 years. The RAAF’s 55 F/A-18As and 16 F/A-18Bs are of similar vintage, and being replaced by the Lockheed Martin F-35.
A report in the Ottawa Citizen quotes Patt Finn, assistant deputy minister for materiel at the Department of National Defence, as saying that the RAAF fighters will receive different ejection seats and software, making them “indistinguishable” from RCAF Hornets.
The RCAF requires airframes to fill a capability gap during a pending process to obtain 88 new combat aircraft to replace the Hornet fleet.
In October 2018, the RCAF issued a draft request for proposals that listed five potential suppliers: Dassault, Saab, Airbus Defence & Space, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing.