Procurement minister Carla Qualtrough said at the CANSEC military equipment trade show last week that she expects the first two used Australian F-18s to be delivered in 2019.
But she told journalists that she still doesn’t have a final cost for taxpayers for the deal of the 18 used aircraft, spares, weapons and other related equipment. The Liberal government has set aside up to $500 million for the purchase.
Qualtrough said negotiations are still ongoing so she won’t have a final tally until later.
Pat Finn, the Department of National Defence’s assistant deputy minister of materiel, recently noted that the Canadian government has received what’s called a letter of cost proposal on the proposed sale. He expects that a deal will be in place by the end of the year with deliveries to begin in the summer of 2019.
The Liberal government originally planned for the arrival of the first used aircraft in January 2019.
Australia needs the approval of the U.S. State Department to transfer the aircraft to Canada. Approval is needed because the F-18s were built in the U.S. with American technology.
The federal government has confirmed that the Australian aircraft will be operating alongside the RACF’s other CF-18s at Bagotville, Que., and Cold Lake, Alberta. “The aircraft will be employed at 3 Wing Bagotville and 4 Wing Cold Lake,” the government noted earlier this year. “DND is currently reviewing infrastructure requirements to accommodate the additional aircraft. Any modifications are expected to be minimal as the supplemental jets are of similar age and design to the CF-18.”