The CF-18 is a slightly modified version of the F/A-18A/B Hornet, which entered service starting in 1983. The remaining aircraft of about 78 have since been upgraded to the F/A-18C/D standard.
However, the decision to select the F-35 from Lockheed Martin without a competition or cost analysis has been severely criticised by several different sources.
In December last year, Canada stated it would consider purchasing fighter aircraft other than the F-35 after a KPMG report estimated the cost of those 65 aircraft would amount to $43.8 billion over a period of 42 years.
Canada has now asked five companies,
- Lockheed Martin
- Dassault Aviation
- European Aeronautic, Defense & Space Company (EADS)
Although the F-35 may again be selected as Canada's future fighter, this decision is another setback for the F-35 program, which has encountered numerous delays and other problems.
Should Canada, one of the eight F-35 partner countries of the US, not select the F-35, it would join several other countries, which have already delayed or reduced the number of F-35 aircraft to be procured.
Australia, another one of the eight partner countries, has already procured the F/A-18E/F recently and may buy more, which is almost certain at the very least reduce the number of F-35 to be purchased.
Boeing intends to again offer the F/A-18E/F to Canada as a candidate to replace the CF-18, where it will go up against the F-35, the Rafale, the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Gripen fighter aircraft.