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Military transport fleet, including VIP aircraft, set to be replaced

Click to play video 'Prime minister’s damaged plane grounded after crash' Prime minister’s damaged plane grounded after crash
Mercedes Stephenson explains what happened to the Canadian version of Air Force One in a 2019 accident, how long the plane could be grounded and why some experts suggest the CC-150 Polaris aircraft isn't worth fixing – Dec 2, 2019

Officials in Ottawa are starting the hunt to replace the aging fleet of Polaris VIP and transport aircraft.

The military’s fleet of five transport and refuelling aircraft, which includes the VIP planes used for sitting governors general and prime ministers, has been plagued by mechanical problems.

A view of the cabin used by the prime minister. Global News / David Akin

The main executive jet was grounded and remains so after sustaining “significant structural damage” during a hangar accident in October 2019, and the backup executive jet was temporarily grounded over engine problems the following month.

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Read more: Trudeau’s back-up plane grounded in London due to engine trouble

The fleet began life as commercial aircraft in 1987 before the Royal Canadian Air Force bought them in 1992. It has been using them ever since when the planes are not in for repairs, which is often.

There has been speculation in recent years the government would move to replace the aging planes.

A view of the cabin used by the prime minister. Global News / David Akin

But delays in the fighter jet procurement have dragged out the process, since any new transport and executive planes will need to be able to work compatibly with whatever fighter jet wins that contest.

Read more: The Canadian version of Air Force One is grounded after a hangar crash

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The estimated budget for the Polaris replacement is estimated between $1 billion and $5 billion.

—With files from The Canadian Press.