Calgary’s Arcfield Canada awarded $211 million for upkeep on CF-18 fighter jets

Calgary based Arcfield Canada has been awarded a $211 million contract to continue maintenance Canada's aging CF-18 fleet. Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press

Calgary’s Arcfield Canada has been awarded a federal contract worth $211 million to help maintain and “sustain” Canada’s aging fleet of CF-18 fighters.

The planes are expected to be phased out of service by 2032.

George Chahal, MP for Calgary Skyview, made the announcement Thursday at Arcfield’s Calgary office, saying the investment will help “ensure the fleet is operationally ready and able to deliver for Canada.”

Chahal made the announcement on behalf of Minister of National Defence Bill Blair and the Minister of Public Services and Procurement Jean-Yves Duclos.

“Today’s announcement is excellent news for the Royal Canadian Air Force and for our world-class defence industry here in Alberta,” Chahal said. “By investing in a trusted Calgary company, our government is supporting good, skilled jobs for Albertans, and ensuring that the women and men of the Royal Canadian Air Force will have the tools that they need to do their jobs.”

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In a new release, the Department of National Defence said Arcfield will continue to support the CF-18 fleet’s avionics weapons systems, supply parts as needed and provide end-to-end supply chain services. The government said the contract will ensure that avionics spare parts will be made available to CF-18 technicians along with the planning, purchasing, warehouse management and repair of spare parts.

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“The CF-18, as we all know, is dating back to 1982, so the technology is fairly old,” said Jacques Comtois, director of operations with Arcfield. “Canada, over the years, has continued to maintain, upgrade them and the latest upgrade will make sure they are operational, but also mission capable in this new environment we have today for the next 10 years.”

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“This is an excellent opportunity to showcase that Calgary is a strong inland port and we are also doing some great work on national defence,” said Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek.

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The Defence department predicted the contract would create or sustain as many as 370 high skilled jobs in Calgary and input $41 million annually into Canada’s gross domestic product over a ten-year period.

“This investment will help to ensure that Canada’s fighter fleet remains interoperable with that of our allies, meets civil/military aviation regulations, and effectively meets operational commitments primarily with North American Air Defence Command and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization until the permanent replacement fighter fleet of F-35 jets is expected to be fully operational in 2032,” the government said.

The contract is for an initial five-year period.

The investment comes the same week the federal government pledged $45.3 million for energy retrofits at Canadian Forces Base Edmonton.

The Defence department said that the project is to upgrade 124 buildings at the base and reduce its energy costs by 21 per cent, saving an estimated $2 million annually. Upgrades include LED lighting, modernized heating and cooling equipment, replacing fossil fuel heating systems with low-carbon alternatives, and more.

It also said greenhouse gas emissions would be lowered by almost 5,200 tonnes each year.

The department says the upgrades won’t affect military operations and are expected to be complete in 2026.

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