Delivering a deadlier Hornet

Boeing and industry partner L-3 Communications MAS this week delivered the first modernised Phase II CF-18 fighter to the Canadian Department of Defence.

Phase II of the CF-18 modernisation program adds a data link system, a helmet-mounted sight system, new colour cockpit displays and a new chaff- and flare-dispensing electronic warfare system to 79 CF-18 Hornets.

The program is expected to be completed in March 2010. Phase I, completed in August 2006, upgraded the Canadian Hornet fleet’s avionics, radio and weapons capabilities.

According to Boeing, the new data link will increase interoperability between Canadian and allied forces. The Canadian fighters will also have improved survivability with the upgraded chaff- and flare-dispensing system, increased weapons effectiveness with the helmet-mounted sight system and enhanced situational awareness with the upgraded displays. Phase II of the modernisation project is valued at $150m.

Boeing previously completed two prototype aircraft, while L-3 provided installation services for the program’s remaining 77 aircraft. The Phase II work is done at the L-3 facility in Mirabel, Quebec.