Future fighter capability project set to begin

The Future Fighter Capability Project will select permanent replacements for Canada’s current CF-18 fighter fleet. Concurrently, the Government of Canada will supplement the current CF-18 fleet until the permanent replacement fleet is fully operational.
Source: Department of National Defence

The Future Fighter Capability Project will select permanent replacements for Canada's current CF-18 fighter fleet. Concurrently, the Government of Canada will supplement the current CF-18 fleet until the permanent replacement fleet is fully operational.

While Canada awaits word on a new fighter jet to replace the venerable CF-18, DCC staff are hard at work planning the infrastructure that will house these next-generation fighter aircraft. As part of the new Defence Policy, Strong, Secure and Engaged, the Department of National Defence has committed to replacing the jets as well as the 1950s-era infrastructure that supports the jets in western and eastern Canada.

Two Request for Proposals to build two super hangars at 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta, and 3 Wing Bagotville, Quebec, and other smaller facilities at fighter Forward Operating Bases have been issued with the final contracts set to be awarded in August and September 2020. DCC staff have been working diligently over the past weeks and months, working overtime and remotely during COVID-19, to adapt the documents for phased delivery and to get all of the e-procurement documents ready for issue in both official languages so industry could access the requirements more easily and efficiently.

The total value of the contract is approximately $525 million—$272 million for a 34,500 square metre facility in Cold Lake and $253 million for a 22,000 square metre facility in Bagotville. The facilities will include operational headquarters for the squadrons that will fly the jets, as well as state-of-the-art security, IT and maintenance and training facilities to house the 88 new jets. All facilities are expected to be finished by 2030 with iterative milestones to be completed along the way.

While it may seem early to be planning the fighter infrastructure given that the Government of Canada will not select the winning bid for the fighter jets until 2022 with operations starting in approximately 2025, DCC plans to procure high-level designs now with follow-on refinements once the new fighter has been selected. This robust approach will use a phased design-build delivery method in order not to disrupt operations.


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