CF-18 Hornet Modernization
Prime contractor: Boeing International
The Canadian Air Force is modernizing 80 CF-18
Hornets fighter aircraft. The program, conducted by Boeing International
is pursued in two phases. In
August 2006 Boeing completed phase I with
the delivery of the 80th aircraft.
Phase I is considered the cornerstone CF-18 modernization project,
providing the fleet with secure communications interoperability. The
aircraft were equipped with an improved radar, compatible with air/air
AMRAAM missiles, HAVE-QUICK jam-resistant radios, a combined
interrogator-transponder (IFF), stores management systems, mission
computers, and embedded global positioning and inertial navigation
systems (GPS/INS). Phase I modernizations are enabling Canadian Hornets
to become fully interoperable with coalition forces.
Phase II began prototype modification in January 2006. This package will
outfit baseline CF-18s Phase I aircraft with
Link 16 datalinks, provided by the US based Datalink Systems
Company. The system will enable the aircraft to share information with
other jets, ground stations and airborne warning and control systems (AWACS).
Information will be displayed on new colour display panels, providing
pilots with improved access to flight data and communications.
The pilots will gain improved situational awareness by large color
multifunction displays and helmet mounted
cueing and sight system (JHMCS).
First flights in Canadian F/A-18s are scheduled for
September 2006. A new ejection seat will be
installed, in support of the new helmet display system. The aircraft
will also be outfitted with a new missile countermeasures chaff/flare
dispenser. Two prototypes are currently being modified at the Naval Air
Warfare Center, in China Lake, California. Production is planned to
begin in October 2006 at the L3 Communications MAS facilities in
To date the program consumed about C$2.3-billion. It is scheduled to
span over eight years.