In light of a report released in the autumn of last year by the Auditor General the Canadian Department of National Defence (DoND) agreed to analyse which upgrades would be required to keep the CF-18 Hornet in service until 2032.
Following the recommendation from the Auditor General the DoND found that upgrades interoperability and regulatory upgrades were required to keep the aircraft operationally relevant. On top of these upgrades the Royal Canadian Air Force is looking at what combat system upgrades are also required.
Phase 1 of the upgrades, that is those updates that have already been identified, will begin this summer with completion expected to be completed by 2025.
Phase 2 will be the combat system upgrades and as of yet a start date for these updates is yet to be announced.
Whether or not the CF-18 will actually be as operationally relevant as hoped is open to debate, especially considering that the aircraft were first introduced in 1983, meaning the airframes will be up to 49 years old at the time they are replaced.
Nick Ashwell-Rice has worked in aviation and defence journalism since 2014 whilst also maintaining a career outside of the industry. He has been Editor-in-Chief at Talking Aero since its inception