U.S. Approves FMS Sale in Support of Canadian F/A-18 Hornet Upgrade

The U.S. State Department has approved the sale of equipment in support of the upgrade of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) F/A-18 Hornet fighter aircraft.

The sale is being executed through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program and the total estimated program cost is $862.3 million. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which oversees FMS sales, delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on June 15.

The sales package consists of:

+ 50 Sidewinder AIM-9X Block II Tactical missiles;
+ 50 Sidewinder AIM-9X Block II Captive Air Training Missiles (CATMs);
+ 10 Sidewinder AIM-9X Block II Special Air Training Missiles (NATMs);
+ 10 Sidewinder AIM-9X Block II Tactical Guidance Units;
+ 10 Sidewinder AIM-9X Block II CATM Guidance Units;
+ 38 APG-79(V)4 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar units;
+ 38 APG-79(V)4 AESA Radar A1 kits;
+ 20 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) C, AGM-154C;
+ 46 F/A-18A Wide Band RADOMEs.

Also included are additional technical and logistics support for the AESA radar; upgrades to the Advanced Distributed Combat Training System (ADCTS) to ensure flight trainers remain current with the new technologies; software development to integrate the systems listed into the F/A-18A airframe and install Automated Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS); 30 Bomb Release Unit (BRU) – 42 Triple Ejector Racks (TER); 30 Improved Tactical Air Launched Decoy (ITALD); 104 Data Transfer Device/Data Transfer Units (DTD/DTU); 12 Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS); 112 AN/ARC-210 RT-2036 (Gen 6) radios and F/A-18 integration equipment; support equipment; tools and test equipment; technical data and publications; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support.

The prime contractors will be Raytheon Corporation, El Segundo, CA; General Dynamics Mission Systems (GDMS), Marion, VA; The Boeing Company, St. Louis, MO; and Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids, IA.

This sale will provide Canada a 2-squadron bridge of enhanced F/A-18A aircraft (official Canadian military designation CF-188) to continue meeting NORAD and NATO commitments while it gradually introduces new advanced aircraft via the Future Fighter Capability Program between 2025 and 2035.

A two-seater CF-18 Hornet fighter aircraft of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) flies over the Parc des Laurentides en route to Valcartier firing range on 22 November 2012. Photo: Corporal Pierre Habib, 3 Wing Bagotville. © 2012 DND-MDN Canada.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the military capability of Canada, a NATO ally that is an important force for ensuring political stability and economic progress and a contributor to military, peacekeeping and humanitarian operations around the world”, said a DSCA statement.

“The proposed sale of the capabilities, as listed, will improve Canada’s capability to meet current and future warfare threats and provide greater security for its critical infrastructure. This sale will provide Canada the ability to maximize the systems’ employment and sustainment, significantly enhancing the warfighting capability of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s F/A-18 aircraft. Canada will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces. The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region”, the statement added.

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