US approves possible Canadian Super Hornet buy

A No 1 Squadron F/A-18F Super Hornet releases flares during a flying display over The Strand Townsville as part of the T150 Defence Force Air Show.The US Defense Security Co-operation Agency (DSCA) has announced the potential sale to Canada of Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets has been approved.

The announcement says the Congressional approval covers a US$5.3bn (A$6.45bn) package comprising 10 single-seat F/A-18Es and eight F/A-18F two-seat aircraft, and a long list of support equipment and spares. Key elements of the package includes 28 ALR-67(V)3 EW kits, 15 Lockheed Martin AAQ-33 Sniper targeting pods, eight spare GE F414-GE-400 engines, and associated weapons racks and other support systems. Also included is a comprehensive weapons package which includes 100 AIM-9X AAMs and associated captive carry and training rounds.

Canada has also requested the integration of an Instrument Landing System (ILS) similar to that fitted to Australian F/A-18Fs and EA-18Gs, and a comprehensive training and initial sustainment package.

The Congressional approval does not mean Canada has committed to buy the Super Hornet. As recently reported, the Canadian Government has threatened to walk-away from the potential deal after Boeing filed a claim again Montreal-based commercial aircraft manufacturer Bombardier which it says sold its new CS100 regional airliner to Delta Air Lines at less than cost price. Boeing claims Bombardier has been able to do this because of generous tax subsidies provided to it by the Canadian federal and Ontario provincial governments.

Canada has also expressed an interest in acquiring an unspecified number of former RAAF F/A-18A/B ‘classic’ Hornets to bolster its ageing fleet of similarly configured CF-18 Hornets on an interim basis until it makes a decision on a permanent CF-18 replacement.