The CF-100 was the first Canadian designed and built jet fighter. It first flew on January 19, 1950 and served as an all weather, air defence fighter, both in Canada and Europe. After unification, the main user of the Canuck was 414 (Electronic Warfare) Squadron, using only the Mk 5C and Mk 5D. The Mk 5C lacked the large air conditioning grill under the Mk 5D, where gun muzzles on earlier versions had been located. The squadron was formed shortly before unification from the Electronic Warfare Unit at Royal Canadian Air Force Station St-Hubert. The squadron moved to CFB Uplands in September 1968 and to CFB North Bay in August 1972 with Canuck and Silver Star. Canuck (100760) was leased by Pratt and Whitney, between September 1, 1967 and December 31, 1971, another (100767) was used by the Airborne Sensing Unit between July 1971 and March 3, 1975. CEPE/AETE operated several Canuck, the last (100747), retiring in February 1973. The Canuck was withdrawn from service in October 1981 with the Silver Star continuing with the Falcon (Electronic Warfare) replacement in 414 Squadron.
The Royal Canadian Air Force CF-100 fleet serials ran between 18101 and 18792 before unification, when only 75 remained within inventory. On November 1, 1970, the Canuck fleet was assigned a new serial range with the "100" prefix range along with the last-three digits of the prior serial. Most did not receive the new serial, as they mainly served in non-flying roles. Few (18747, 18760 and 18767) did fly after the new serial application date. Seventeen aircraft were known to be re-serialled (Mk 5C; 100772, 779, 780, 782, 783, 791 and Mk 5D; 100472, 476, 493, 500, 504, 784, 785, 788, 789, 790 and 792). The Falcon fleet had to receive new serials before the Canuck to avoid any conflict in the last-four digits of serials. For example, the old Falcon serial 20504 could be confused with new Canuck serial 100504.
The history of the Voodoo interceptor in Canadian service can be easily divided into two phases, each phase had 66 aircraft with a 133rd a Voodoo added late in the second phase. The Voodoo was originally designed as a deep penetration fighter for the USAF to escort the SAC bomber fleet through Soviet air defence assets. The main user was Air Defence Command of the USAF with the F-101B version, which first flew in March 1957. With the death of the Avro Arrow program in 1959, the Royal Canadian Air Force looked for a replacement program. As part of a 1961 agreement with the U.S. government, the Royal Canadian Air Force was to receive 66 F-101B interceptors. Royal Canadian Air Force crews converted to the type with the first official handover in November 1961.
The USAF decision to inactivate seven ADC squadrons in 1968 produced a surplus of updated F-101B aircraft available for transfer to Canada. These aircraft were older, but had received updates which the original Canadian batch had not. The net result was 56 surviving original aircraft went south, with 66 older but updated Voodoo going north. These served within the Canadian Armed Forces with 409 (CFB Comox), 410 (CFB Bagotville), 416 (CFB Chatham) and 425 (CFB Bagotville) squadrons in the interceptor roles after unification. In each batch, 10 aircraft with dual controls were designated as CF-101F. The interceptor role for the Voodoo came to and end in June 1984.
The last addition to the Voodoo fleet came late in October 1982 with the sole electronic warfare Voodoo for 414 Squadron. The USAF developed the prototype in 1980 for a planned conversion-production run of eleven In 1982 the USAF decided to retire the entire Voodoo fleet, thus cancelling the program. When the loaned "Electric Jet" (101067) was retired in March 1987, along with a trainer (101006), it was the end of the Voodoo in Canadian service.
The first batch of sixty-six Voodoos used serials within the 17391 to 17483 range. The last-three of these serials were from the 1959 USAF Voodoo serial block of 59-391 to 59-483. This range extends through 92 aircraft, though only 66 were passed to the Royal Canadian Air Force during 1961 and 1962. Previously, two early aircraft were painted 17101 and 17102 in an aborted assigned serial range of 17101-17166. The first batch of Voodoos did not received new serials as the survivors were to be traded back to the USAF in June 1970.
The second batch of Voodoos were assigned serials between 101001 and 101066 when delivered to Bristol Aerospace and then to the Canadian Armed Forces. Aircraft were from the 1956 and 1957 serial blocks of; 56-253 to 56-328 and 57-268 to 57-451. The second batch was easily identified by the IR sensor above the radome in front of the canopy and the new serial range presentation. The 133rd Voodoo, 101067, lent by the USAF, was known as the EF-101B, "Electric Jet" or "Electric Voodoo".
The first unit to operate the Starfighter was No.6 Strike/Reconnaissance Operational Training Unit (6 ST/R OTU), which later became 417 Squadron and trained personnel for the entire program. On unification date the NATO establishment was split between three bases in Germany. On September 19, 1970, the 4 Wing title was replaced by 1 Canadian Air Group, or 1 CAG. At the end of 1971 the nuclear role was dropped with both strike/attack squadrons converting to the conventional attack. This saw a major change to Starfighter appearance and introduced the M61 Vulcan 20mm cannon, on single-seat aircraft, not previously installed on Canadian operated aircraft. Air to ground conventional weapons were added to fulfil the role. The reconnaissance role was dropped by 439 Squadron in mid 1972 when it also switched to conventional mud-moving role. Few reconnaissance pods were maintained in use after this.
This continued until squadrons started to stand down for the arrival of the Hornet. The first to go was 439 Squadron in November 29, 1984. This was followed by 421 Squadron in late 1985 and 441 Squadron in early 1986. The first European based Hornets, from the newly equipped 409 Squadron, arrived in April 1985, thus both types were operated from CFB Baden-Soellingen for 10 months. The Canadian Armed Forces exported surplus aircraft, with 22 going to Denmark in 1971 and a further 22 to Norway in 1972. In January 1986, the start of a total of 50 were transferred to Turkey.
The Royal Canadian Air Force Starfighter fleet carried the serial range of 12701 to 12900 for the Canadair manufactured single-seat CF-104, with 12631 to 12652 and 12653 to 12668 for the Lockheed-built CF-104D Mk 1 and Mk 2. Starting on July 28, 1970 the fleet received new serials to fall into the new Canadian Armed Forces designation system. The single-seat CF-104 became 104701 to 104900 and the two-seaters became 104631 to 104668. In both cases the last-three of the prior serial was maintained, replacing the prefix "12" with "104".
The Yukon was derived from the Bristol Britannia passenger transport. It was stretched by 12' 8" and equipped with Tyne engines and built in Canada. The Yukon entered service in 1961 with the Royal Canadian Air Force took with the first of 12 CL44-6. The Yukon was used as the major long-haul transport starting in late 1961. The main user was 437 Squadron, operating from RCAF Station Trenton, in the passenger and freight role. Two aircraft were operated by 412 Squadron from CFB Uplands in the executive transport role. The Yukon retired on April 3, 1971 and sold to civilian operators. The 12 Yukon were replaced by five Boeing 707.
The 12 strong Royal Canadian Air Force Yukon fleet had serials of 15921 to 15932 replaced by the new designation and serial range of 106921 to 106932 on May 26, 1970. Just over four months later the fleet was retired.
The Argus was designed to replace the Lancaster and the interim Neptune in the anti-submarine role. The aircraft was a re-designed Britannia with a new fuselage and piston engines. The prototype first flew in March 1957 and entered service with the Royal Canadian Air Force in April 1958. A total of thirteen Argus Mk 1 were produced and twenty further Mk 2 were built with a much smaller nose radar chin.
Four operational squadrons used the Argus: 404 and 405 at CFB Greenwood, 407 at CFB Comox and 415 Squadron CFB Summerside. The Maritime Experimental Proving Establishment also used the Argus. No. 449 Squadron at Greenwood was the training squadron when formed from 2 (M) OTU and the Argus Conversion Unit on April 1, 1968, lasting until August 29, 1975 when 404 Squadron assumed the role. The Argus was replaced by the Lockheed Aurora starting in 1980, with the last operational Argus mission was flown on July 4, 1981. The fleet was scrapped when no new owners could be found.
The Argus carried the Royal Canadian Air Force serials of 20710 to 20742 past the unification date in 1968, until June 4, 1970. The new designation and serial range of 10710 to 10742 was adopted, maintaining the last-two digits of the prior serial.
The Caribou was designed as an aerial transport "truck". It was not used by the Royal Canadian Air Force in great numbers, but had success in the export market. Nine were purchased for the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1960 for use in Canada's United Nations contribution with 117 ATU. They were also assigned to 102 Composite Unit (KU) and was redesignated to 424 Squadron, at CFB Trenton, shortly after unification. The only loss was to a strafing Pakistan Air Force F-86 while on United Nations duty. In June 1971, the surviving eight were withdrawn and sold to the Tanzanian Air Force.
The Caribou was due to have a new serial range beginning with 10801 retaining the last-two digits of the prior serial in 1970. As the type was to be withdrawn by June 1971, this did not take place and the old range of 5303 and 5320 to 5327 was maintained.
The Royal Canadian Air Force purchased 10 examples of the CL-66B Cosmopolitan transport from Canadair. These were the last of the Convair propliner line to be built. Two earlier CL-540 were also used before unification. The initial Eland engines were the source of many problems until replaced by Allisons prior to unification. The fleet was operated by 412 Squadron based at RCAF Station Uplands (later CFB Ottawa), mainly in the passenger role. The squadron maintained a single aircraft detachment at NORAD headquarters, Colorado Springs, Utah. A second detachment was at CFB Winnipeg for use with Air Command headquarters between July 1980 and May 1, 1990. A detachment was established at CFB Lahr during 1971 with a single CC-109. The rotating example was exchanged for a pair of CC-132 in 1980 and after a pair of CC-142, the Cosmopolitan returned to CFB Lahr in May 1990. The detachment was redesignated as 1 ATU on April 1, 1992, with the last aircraft returning to 412 Squadron on July 27, 1993, the unit standing down on September 22, 1993. This was the last European based Canadian Armed Forces aircraft to leave Europe.
A modernization program was done to the fleet including updated cockpits with the first redelivered in December 1989. The fleet fell victim to budget cuts and were withdrawn from service in June 1994 and stored at CFB Trenton before sale in 1996.
In Royal Canadian Air Force service the Cosmopolitan carried the serial range of 11106 to 11160. Under the new designation, the new serial range of 109151 to 109160 was assigned on May 26, 1970.
Ten examples of the Albatross amphibious transport were ordered for use with the Royal Canadian Air Force, nine were still active on unification. The aircraft were divided between; 4 (T) OCU at CFB Trenton, 102 KU CFB Trenton (Composite and rescue) at CFB Trenton, 103 KU at CFB Greenwood, 111 KU (unconfirmed) at Winnipeg and 121 KU at CFB Comox. On July 8, 1968, search and rescue units were given squadron numbers; 102 KU became 424 Squadron, 103 RU to 413 Squadron (moving to CFB Summerside at the same time) and 121 KU to 442 Squadron. The type was replaced by the Buffalo and Dakota in 1970.
The Albatross was another type that did not adopt a new serial range. The type was retired by December 1970, with the original serials 9301 to 9310 still applied.
The Nomad helicopter served with the Canadian Army in the utility and aerial observation role, starting in 1961. Twenty-four were assigned to the units within the Canadian Army, including Europe. The Nomad was used by the 8th Canadian Hussars - Helicopter Reconnaissance Troop, Command and Liaison Flight of 4 CMBG HQ and Signals Squadron and the Aircraft Repair Platoon. All amalgamated to for 444 Squadron on October 1, 1972 with the Kiowa.
A further three were delivered in March 1964 for the Royal Canadian Air Force and served with Primary Flying Training School at CFB Borden until moving in April 1970, to CFB Portage la Prairie. The Nomad was also used at CFB Rivers with 4 Advanced Flying School, also moving to Portage la Prairie. Both units joined to become 3 FTS (with Primary Flying School and Rotary Training School, later known as the Basic Helicopter School). The Nomad was replaced by the Kiowa starting in December 1971.
Serials in the 10261 to 10287 range were used until early 1970 when changed to 112261 to 112287 maintaining the last-three of the prior serial. It is unknown if any aircraft were repainted before retirement.
Six CH-113 Labrador twin-engine, twin rotor helicopters, were purchased to replace the Albatross, H-21 and H-44, in the search and rescue role within the Royal Canadian Air Force rescue units. The first flight was in October 1962 with deliveries complete by April 1964. The aircraft were divided between three units; 102 KU at CFB Trenton, 103 KU at CFB Greenwood and 121 KU at CFB Comox. Just after unification, on July 8, 1968, search and rescue units were given squadron numbers; 102 KU becoming 424 Squadron, 103 RU becoming 413 Squadron and 121 KU becoming 442 Squadron; 413 Squadron moving to CFB Summerside during the same period.
The Canadian Army purchased 12 similar CH-113A Voyageur between 1964 and 1965. These were easily identified by green camouflage, more cockpit glass, tail mounted APU and lack of pontoons. The first user was the CJATC (Canadian Joint Air Training Centre) for crew training in late 1963 at RCAF Station Rivers. This was followed on December 12, 1963, by 1 Transport Helicopter Platoon which moved the fleet to RCAF Station St-Hubert in 1966. Following unification the unit was redesignated as 450 (Heavy Transport) Squadron and had a detachment at CFB Namao. In the summer of 1970 the squadron moved to CFB Ottawa (Uplands) from CFB St-Hubert. Also in 1970, the squadron title was changed to 450 (Transport) Helicopter Squadron.
In 1975, the Voyageur was replaced by the Chinook. The now surplus Voyageurs were assigned to the SAR role after interim modifications. Several updates were done to bring both the Labrador and Voyageur close to a common standard. The former Army machines received larger Kawasaki pylon mounted fuel tanks and looked similar to the former Royal
The Labrador/Voyageur shared a common serial prefix with the serial range of 10401 to 10406 used by the Labrador and 10407 to 10418 for the Voyageur. At the start of December 1971, the combined range was changed to 11301 to 11318 under the new designation, maintaining only the last-two digits of the prior serial number. The Silver Star fleet had received new serials before the Labrador/Voyageur fleet to avoid conflict with the last-four digits. For example, Silver Star old serial 21304 would conflict with new Labrador serial 11304
The Tutor was designed for the Royal Canadian Air Force as a side-by-side seat jet trainer. Deliveries of 190 examples to the Royal Canadian Air Force were made between October 29, 1963 and September 28, 1966. The majority of the fleet spent its life at CFB Moose Jaw with 2 FTS, (2 CFFTS after July 23, 1970), in the intended training role. In 1976, the first program to update began for 113 Tutors. This added external fuel tanks and some upgrade to avionics to keep the airframes in service.
The Tutor was also known for its display role in the 1968 and 1969 air show seasons, when two (26153 and 26154) Tutors replaced the Silver Star as solo acrobatic "Red Knight". In 1971, the "2 CFFTS Formation Team" was formed at CFB Moose Jaw with seven aircraft. In 1978, the team was granted squadron status as 431 (Air Demonstration) Squadron. Aircraft were cycled between positions on the team as well as out of the team to "average out" stress on airframes.
The 190 airframes ordered by the Royal Canadian Air Force had serials in the 26001 to 26190 range. On January 8, 1971, the range was changed, retaining the last-three of previous serial, but adding the new designation, hence 114001 to 114190. The Sea King fleet had to apply new serials before the Tutor to avoid conflict with the last-four digits of the old Sea King serials, for example, 4028 with new Tutor serial 114028.
The Buffalo followed the Caribou from de Havilland and was close in size with straightened wings and T-tail. Although not the export success of the Caribou, the Buffalo served the Canadian Forces over twice as long. Fifteen aircraft were ordered in 1965, with deliveries running between June 1967 and December 1968. No. 429 Squadron was formed at RCAF Station St-Hubert, with the first aircraft arriving on June 16, 1967. Tactical transport was the intended role in support of ground forces. On September 1, 1971 the squadron disbanded with 440 absorbing a CFB Namao detachment until June 1974, when 424 Squadron assumed ownership. In 1974 two aircraft were assigned to 116 Air Transport Unit for use with the United Nations from assets of 424 Squadron. One aircraft (115461) was shot down by Syrian Air Force surface-to-air missiles on August 9, 1974. One Canadian Armed Forces aircraft was leased to Bell Aerospace and modified as an air cushion landing system, somewhat like a hovercraft, between 1972 and 1977.
In 1975 the Buffalo began its transformation to the search and rescue role to replace the remaining Dakota. Buffalo were converted for duties with 413, 424, and 442 squadrons at CFB Summerside, CFB Trenton and CFB Comox. In 1992 both 424 and 413 squadrons gave up the Buffalo for SAR equipped Hercules aircraft, leaving 442 Squadron at CFB Comox as the only user. The majority of the fleet was sold, ending up with the Sky Relief in Zimbabwe.
In Royal Canadian Air Force service the Buffalo carried serials between 9451 and 9465. This continued into Canadian Armed Forces service until changing to 115451 to 115465 on May 27, 1970 under the new designation and serial system.
The first Canadair CF-5 jet fighter built for the Canadian Armed Forces was rolled out on February 6, 1968 and delivered November 5, 1968. Deliveries continued until September 21, 1971. The CF-5 was considered by many to be the "toy fighter" in relation to the capabilities of other fighter aircraft under production. The Canadair product was superior to the early generation of the Freedom Fighter, but less capable than the later F-5E/F. The two-seat CF-5D varied from the single-seat CF-5A by not having an air-to-air refuelling capacity (starboard side on single-seat CF-5A, the opposite to American built aircraft), guns, changeable reconnaissance nose or the two position nose gear.
AETE located at CFB Uplands received its first CF-5 on December 19, 1968. No. 434 (OT) Squadron was reactivated at CFB Cold Lake on February 15, 1968 and used Silver Star until receiving its first CF-5 on November 5, 1968. At CFB Bagotville, 433 Squadron formed to fly the CF-5 on August 25, 1969. Many of the single-seat CF-5A went straight into storage at CFB North Bay and CFB Trenton. This was due to a change in policy, from three operational and one training squadron, to only two dual role squadrons. A further eighteen two-seat CF-5D were produced replacing Silver Star with 1 FTS at CFB Cold Lake by January 31, 1975. This was possible from funds received from the sale of surplus aircraft (16 CF-5A and two CF-5D) to Venezuela. A further pair (116827 and 116828) carried serials for acceptance flights by the Canadian Armed Forces for the Fuerzas Aéreas Venezolana.
No. 434 Squadron was the training unit until the role was taken over by a third Squadron, 419 (Tactical Fighter Training) which redesignated from 1 FTS on May 2, 1975. No. 433 Squadron converted to the Hornet in late 1987 - early 1988; 434 moved to CFB Bagotville on July 15, 1982 and then to CFB Chatham, in July 1985, where it stood down on June 1, 1988. The 419 Squadron continued as the sole user, providing the lead-in-fighter for the Hornet. The CF-5 upgrade program modified CF-5 and CF-5D with instrumentation similar to the Hornet. The CF-5 fell to budget cuts with 419 Squadron ceasing flight operations at the end of March 1995. The upgrade continued with completed aircraft going directly into storage at CFB Trenton and Mountain View before 13 (705, 716, 719, 732, 734, 754, 764, 765, 784, 801, 802, 829 and 830) were sold to Botswana in 1996.
Serials were assigned to the CF-5 starting with 14701. Only one aircraft was painted before revised to 116701 to 116789 for CF-5A and 116801 to 116846 for CF-5D under the new designation system.
The Mystére executive jet, known as the Falcon, or Fan Jet Falcon in English, was ordered for the Royal Canadian Air Force on June 23, 1966 as part of a swap with the French government for the CL-215 water bomber. The first Falcon was received by 412 Squadron on May 22, 1967 with the last arriving on November 16, 1967. The Falcon served in the executive transport role with high fuel consumption until December 1985. The Ministry of Transport was also equipped for the same role with Lockheed JetStars and later Challengers. The Canadian Armed Forces did not want to be burdened with costly executive transports so MOT fleet assumed a greater share. The Falcon was withdrawn from the transport role in December 1985.
Three Falcons (117505, 117506 and 117507) were modified for the electronic warfare role and assigned to 414 Squadron at CFB North Bay between September 1977 and June 1989. A lack of funds terminated the complete modification of all three to full electronic counter measures standard. Two transport Falcons (117502 and 117504) were also used for short periods. The Falcon was replaced by the Challenger (Electronic Warfare) starting in March 1987.
The first seven Falcons had serials from 20501 to 20507 on delivery. This changed on May 26, 1970, adding the prefix "117" from the new designation while retained the last-three of the previous serial, therefore 117501 to 117508. The Falcon had to receive new serials before the Canuck to avoid any conflict in the last-four of serials. For example, new Canuck serial 100504 with old Falcon serial 20504.
The Iroquois utility helicopter was ordered for the Canadian Army in 1967. No. 403 (Helicopter Operational Training) Squadron was formed on February 15, 1968 to operate the type from CFB Petawawa. The first was handed over on March 6, 1968 at CFB Uplands. The Iroquois was the lead-in model for the more powerful Twin Huey under development. When the Twin Huey arrived for ground forces, the Iroquois were transferred to Base Flights at CFB Bagotville, CFB Cold Lake and CFB Moose Jaw. One aircraft (118109) was modified with a Bell 212 tail unit, but this major modification was not adopted for the fleet. CFB Moose Jaw Base Flight closed down, including OTU capability, as a cost saving measure in July 1993, to be replaced by a truck. Base flights were given squadron numbers at CFB Cold Lake, 417 (CS) and at CFB Bagotville, 439 (CS) in May 1993. Both converted to the Griffon by 1995.
The Iroquois were delivered during and shortly after the unification date, therefore the new Canadian Armed Forces designation and serial system used. The original intent was to use the 14001 to 14010 range changing before delivery to 118001 to 118010 on September 27, 1967 and again on February 9, 1968 with 118101 to 118110.
The Cessna L-19 observation and utility light aircraft was purchased for the Canadian Army in 1954, with an order for 16 L-19A. In 1957 nine L-19E were added. The role was liaison, courier and general utility, until the type was replaced by the Kiowa.
The L-19 had serials in the 16701 to 16735 range. On June 11, 1970 the aircraft were given new serials in the 119701 to 119735 range under the new designation system. Both ranges included the six out of sequence L-182.
The Cessna 182 Skylane light transport was purchased and modified for use in the observation role. In common with the L-19, the CO-119 designation was used.
The L-182D (four examples) and L-182F (two examples) continued the serial range of L-19 from 16726 to 16731. Under the new designation system, the aircraft received new serials 119726 to 119731.
The Chipmunk basic trainer was purchased for the Canadian Forces starting in 1948. The type was redesignated as CT-120 in 1970 and replaced by the Beech Musketeer in 1971.
The Chipmunk fleet re-serialled from the 18004 to 18079 range, to the new range of 12004 to 12079 on June 2, 1970.
The Tracker was purchased for use with the Royal Canadian Navy onboard HMCS Bonaventure. The survivors of 100 examples (17 were exported to the Netherlands), were operated for a short time after unification from the carrier. The first user of the Tracker was VX 10 and acted as the trials unit until absorbed by AETE. Navy users were VS 880 and VS 881 in the anti-submarine warfare role and were shore-based at RCNAS Shearwater. HMCS Bonaventure's final launch was on December 12, 1969. VS 880 Squadron continued from the shore base in the anti-submarine warfare role until 1970. The sovereignty and surveillance missions associated with fisheries department continued with VS 880, moving to CFB Summerside in March 1990 and redesignated 880 (MR) in March 1975. All anti-submarine warfare gear was removed and equipment changed with modified aircraft reentering service in 1978. In August 1990 the squadron moved to CFB Summerside until aircraft retired in March 1990.
VU 33 on the West Coast was located at Pat Bay, near Victoria until it moved to CFB Comox in 1973, with the type retiring in August 1990. VU 32 used the Tracker starting in 1958 on the East Coast in much the manor. VT 406 was the training squadron established on July 12, 1972 at CFB Shearwater, for the Tracker and Sea King. The training role was returned to MR 880 in 1982 and VT 406 redesignated HT 406, continuing with the Sea King.
The Tracker fleet was re-serialled from the old Royal Canadian Navy four digit range of 1500 to 1599, to the new five digit range of 12100 to 12199 range in 1970 (as earlier aircraft were no longer the applied range was 12134 to 12199). The fleet maintained the last-two digits of the prior serial number, adding the new prefix of 121.
The Neptune anti-submarine and patrol aircraft had nearly been replaced by the Argus when unification occurred. The only two Canadian Armed Forces units operating the Neptune after unification were AETE at CFB Ottawa and 407 Squadron at CFB Comox. The fleet was sold to civilian operators in the United States with one exception in Victoria.
In Royal Canadian Air Force service Neptune had serials in the 24101 to 24125 range. The new proposed serials were 122201 to 12225, but not applied as the type was retired in mid 1968.
A total of 69 single-engine Otter utility transports saw service with the Royal Canadian Air Force before unification in 1968. The designation of the Otter changed from CSR-123 to CC-123 by August 1976 under the revision of CFAO 36-37. No. 424 Squadron used the Otter until mid 1971 to train reserve crews. The Air Reserve Wings (1 ARW at Montreal and 2 ARW at Toronto) were the final users with the last example retiring in 1982 at Montreal.
The Otter serial system was changed from four digits to the "123" prefix and the last-three of the previous serial under the 1970 redesignation to CSR-123. In practice the prior serials, 3661 to 3699, 3743 to 3745 and 9401 to 9427 were maintained on the Otter. One batch 9401 to 9427 were amended, on paper, by adding the "123" prefix, maintaining the last-four digits resulting in the only seven digit serial range assigned (the only type, but still not carried), of 1239401 to 1239427.
The Sea King twin engine anti-submarine helicopter was purchased for use with the Royal Canadian Navy onboard the carrier HMCS Bonaventure. Before unification HS 50 was the main user and shore-based at RCNAS Shearwater. After the carrier was paid-off, destroyer and frigates became the seaborne platform for the Sea King fleet. HS 50 was split into two squadrons, HS 423 and HS 443 on September 3, 1974. VT 406, a training unit was established on July 12, 1972. In July 1987 HS 443 sent a detachment to Pat Bay, on the West Coast to operate with helicopter capable ships arriving there. The remainder of the squadron followed in May 1989. The fleet was redesignated with updates to CH-124A. Eight Sea Kings were modified for special use in the Persian Gulf without designation change. A new version, CH-124B was developed using passive anti-submarine warfare gear. These six (12401, 12424, 12430, 12434, 12437 and 12441) were modified airframes and all re-delivered by 1993.
The Sea King operated from the following Her Majesty Canadian Ships: 22 Bonaventure, 205 St.Laurent, 206 Saguenay, 207 Skeena, 229 Ottawa, 230 Margaree, 233 Fraser, 234 Assiniboine, 265 Annapolis, 266 Nipigon, 280 Iroquois, 281 Huron, 282 Athabaskan, 283 Algonquin, 330 Halifax, 331 Vancouver, 332 Ville de Quebec, 333 Toronto, 334 Regina, 335 Calgary, 336 Montreal, 337 Fredericton, 338 Winnipeg, 339 Charlottetown, 340 St John's, 341 Ottawa, 508 Provider, 509 Protecteur and 510 Preserver.
The Royal Canadian Navy Sea King had serials in the 4001 to 4041 range. This continued into Canadian Armed Forces service until August 14, 1970 when the last-two digits of the prior serial number were used with the new designation hence, 12401 to 12441. The Sea King had to have new serials applied before the Tutor fleet to avoid conflict with the last-four digits of the serial. For example, the old Sea King serial 4028 with new Tutor serial 114028.
The Royal Canadian Air Force purchased six H-21A and nine H-21B helicopters that were later designated CH-125. They were used in support of the Mid-Canada radar line and rescue units such as 102 KU/424 Squadron and 111 KU/440 Squadron until 1971. Aircraft were also in use with base flights, until replaced by the Iroquois.
In 1970, it was proposed to replace the old serials for the H-21 9610 to 9615, 9636 to 9644 and H-44A 9591 to 9596 with five digit serials falling in line with the new designations. New serials were to be in the 125** and 127** range. The type was withdrawn from service before application.
The Royal Canadian Air Force used six H-34A/S-58 helicopters in support of the Mid-Canada radar chain.
This type was about to be withdrawn from service when the new serial system was initiated, therefore the old range of 9630 to 9635 was maintained.
The Expeditor, or Bugsmasher as it was commonly known, served the Royal Canadian Air Force for a very long time with numerous formations. The few remaining examples still flying on unification were withdrawn shortly afterwards.
As a result of the Expeditor being withdrawn from service in 1970, the proposed five digit serial range starting with 12801 was not used. The old system included the "two-letter - three-number" systems and numeric ranges of 1381 to 1600, 2278 to 2382 and 5179 to 5199. Twenty-one aircraft were re-serialled in 1967 to avoid last-four conflict with the Tracker fleet.
The Dakota twin engine transport had served with the Royal Canadian Air Force since World War II. Several different versions were suited for different roles such as; transport, liaison, search and rescue, target tug and trainer. The Dakota served with numerous units. The last user was 402 Squadron/CFNAS at CFB Winnipeg. Three aircraft: "Dolly's Folly" (12938), "Pinocchio" (12959) and "Woody Woodpecker" (KN278), were modified with CF-104 radomes to act as radar trainers for the Starfighter program. The last to serve in the role was "Dolly's Folly" making the last navigation training flight on July 1, 1983. The Dakota continued until 1989.
In 1970, a completely new serial range was assigned to Dakota aircraft. In line with Canadian Armed Forces, new designation system serials were 12901 to 12971. Several systems were used previously, including the RAF "two-letter-three-number" system. The Dakota was the only type not to maintain the last-two digits of prior serial within the new serial.
The Hercules tactical four-engine transport was initially purchased to convey disassembled Starfighters to Europe for 1 Air Division. For this four B models were purchased, with the first arriving in 1960. The E model followed in late 1964, with 24 examples as replacements for the ageing Boxcar/Packet fleet. The B models were traded back, before unification, to the manufacture as part of the last E purchase. Twenty-two CC-130E were updated with H model components by 1987. In four batches, a total of fourteen new CC-130H models followed to expand the fleet, five Hercules, 130338 to 130342, could carry in-flight refuelling pods. Two stretch Hercules were also purchased in 1996. The main users of the type were 435 squadron at CFB Namao and 436 at CFB Trenton. No. 435 moved to Winnipeg between July and August 1994 with the closure of CFB Namao as a fixed wing base. No.413 and 424 adopted the types replacing the Buffalo in 1992 at CFB Greenwood and CFB Trenton. No.429 squadron moved to Trenton as a regular force unit.
In 1970, the CC-130 Hercules fleet received the new serial range starting with 130305. Only the first four aircraft only carried the old 10301 to 10304 serials as they were sold before unification. The CC-130E received new serials changing from the range starting with 10305 to the new range of 130305 to 130328. The later CC-130H used 130329 to 130342 with the two longer C-130H30 as 130343 and 130344.
Two of the four Dynavert research test aircraft built, were flown by the Canadian Armed Forces. The prototype was company owned and crashed on September 5, 1967. One of the two Canadian Armed Forces machines was lost while operating from Naval Air Test Centre Patuxent River.
The second to fourth built VX-84 used the serials 8401 to 8403. The Dynavert's proposed new serial range was to start with 13101. The type was not operated by the Canadian Armed Forces past 1970, thus the new range was not used.
Two Dash 7 four-engine commuter airliners were purchased for use with 1 CAG in Europe. The use of two aircraft were seen as the ideal setting to show the de Havilland product in Europe. The two were accepted in August and September 1979 and were assigned to 412 Det based at CFB Lahr replacing the Cosmopolitan. The two aircraft differed in seat configurations, the first (Miss Piggy) had 36 seats, while the second (Harvey) seated 47. The two Dash 7 were replaced by another pair of de Havilland products on show, the Dash 8 in April 1987.
The two examples of the Dash 7 were assigned serials 132001 and 132002.
The Lockheed T-33 jet trainer was an outgrowth of the P-80 fighter developed in the forties. Twenty of the aircraft were ordered by the Royal Canadian Air Force as Silver Star Mk 1 along with a single Mk 2. Ten more were loaned from the USAF, under the designation of Mk 3. This was followed by production at Canadair with 656 examples, many were later exported after Canadian usage. The Royal Canadian Navy used a few Silver Stars from RCNAS Shearwater with VT 40, as a lead in for the Banshee program. Use continued with VU 32 and VU 33 past unification.
The Silver Star had numerous users within the Royal Canadian Air Force and Canadian Armed Forces. Nearly all jet operating bases used the Silver Star in Canada and overseas. A few Silver Star were modified for the Photo reconnaissance role and used by 408 Squadron. They could be identified by the lower nose modified to accept camera gear.
In Europe the base flights under various titles used non-flying birds, such as the Kiwi, Road-runner and Penguin as emblems. The Silver Star was used by 1 Air Division bases and continued with 1 CAG and 1 CAD. The last left CFB Baden-Soellingen in April 1992.
The long time Silver Star operator at CFB North Bay, 414 Squadron was split on July 4, 1992. The title was moved, with some aircraft, to CFB Comox and absorbed the remaining Silver Star assets of VU 33. The remaining assets moved to CFB Shearwater absorbing Silver Star assets of VU 32 and became 434 Squadron on July 5, 1992. Both 414 and 434 squadrons operated in the maritime support role for the Navy in addition to the electronic warfare role. The Comox unit providing the OTU capability. The squadron was twinned with 409 Squadron (reserve) for a short period before the reserve squadron disbanded again. Some Silver Star were equipped with pylons for electronic counter measure pods and were referred to unofficially as ET-133.
Late in the "T-Bird" history two Base Flights became squadrons at CFB Bagotville and CFB Cold Lake in April 1993. Two squadrons, 439 and 417, were formed to operate the former Base Flight Silver Star and Iroquois.
The Beech craft Musketeer basic trainer was selected by the Canadian Armed Forces to replace the Chipmunk and started in service on March 23, 1971. Twenty-five were delivered to 3 Flying Training School which later became 3 CFFTS at CFB Portage la Prairie. A further twenty-one, under the designation CT-134A Musketeer II, were delivered starting in July 1981 to replace the earlier batch. With one exception at AETE, the first batch was retired by mid January 1982. Under the original purchase contract the type could not be sold on the civilian market. The fleet was replaced by 1993 with the civilian operated Slingsby T67C3 Firefly.
The Musketeer was introduced with serials in the 13401 to 13425 range. The serials were changed in 1973, by inserting the number "2" after "134" hence 134201 to 134225. This was to avoid a last-four conflict with some Silver Star, for example, Musketeer 13423 and Silver Star 133423. The range was extended to 134246 with the purchase of a batch of Musketeer II in 1981.
The Twin Huey transport helicopter was a natural outgrowth of the UH-1 Iroquois. The twin-engine installation was a combined Bell, Pratt and Whitney Canada and Canadian government financed project. The first of fifty Twin Huey helicopters ordered arrived on May 3, 1971.
Three former Starfighter squadrons reformed to operate the Twin Huey: 422 Squadron at CFB Gagetown (disbanded on August 16, 1980), 427 Squadron CFB Petawawa and 430 Squadron at CFB Valcartier along with 403 at CFB Gagetown and 408 Squadron at CFB Namao. No. 450 Squadron flying Voyageurs, also used the Twin Huey, starting in 1970 with a utility flight. The complement increased when the Chinook was retired from Canadian Armed Forces service. This lasted until 1975 and were for use with the RCMP Special Emergency Response Team.
In the utility and search and rescue role the Twin Huey was used by VU 32 between February 1972 and 1990. No. 424 Squadron used the Twin Huey between Voyageur use in late 1976 and when the Labrador CH-113/A fleet returned to 424 Squadron in the mid 1980's. These aircraft and those of the Base flight at CFB Goose Bay were painted yellow. The CFB Goose Bay Base Rescue Flight was redesignated 444 (CS) Squadron in April 1993.
The aircraft have been used on several United Nations assignments such as Haiti, Somalia, Rwanda, Sinai with crews and squadrons rotating. Prior to the arrival of the replacing Griffon several of the tactical helicopter squadron used both the Twin Huey and Kiowa adopting only one prior to conversion.
The serial range 135101 to 135150 was assigned on April 9, 1968, in accordance with the new designation and serial system.
The Kiowa was a four seat light helicopter built by Bell Helicopters in the early seventies, for the ground elements of the Canadian Armed Forces. A total of 74 COH-58A, or CH-136 as it was later known, were delivered between December 1971 and the end of 1972. Two were sent to AETE for tests, where the first example remained, becoming the last Kiowa in service. Starting in 1972, the Kiowa operated with 3 CFFTS in the helicopter training role until replaced by the more powerful Jetranger in 1981. The Kiowa returned to 3 CFFTS, for a short period, when many of the Jetranger were used in Central America on United Nations duty.
Users included 403, 408, 422, 427, 430 and 444 squadrons. Squadrons operated both Bell products except 444 Squadron which operated just the Kiowa from CFB Lahr as part of the Battle Group assigned in NATO forming on October 1, 1972. The Squadron was formed on November 3, 1972 and used just the Kiowa until the aircraft were returned to Canada in 1992.
Two reserve Air Wings at Downsview and Montreal using the Kiowa, replacing the Otter, with the first delivered to Downsview on November 15, 1980. 1 Wing, formerly 1 Tactical Aviation Wing, consist of 401 and 438 squadrons at Montreal, while 2 Wing, formerly 2 TAW was based at Downsview with 400 and 411 Squadrons. With the exception of AETE and the two reserve wings, the type was withdrawn on March 31, 1994.Serials
The range of 136201 to 136274 were applied to the fleet on entering service.
The Canadian Armed Forces purchased the Boeing 707 four-engine airliner as a quick fix to the retirement of the Yukon long-haul transport. At the time the Canadian Armed Forces were looking at the Lockheed Starlifter. The four examples of the Boeing 707 purchased were for Western Airlines which had cancelled an order. A total of five were ordered, with three delivered on April 10, 1970. All served with 437 Squadron at CFB Trenton with crew training done by co-based 426 Squadron.
Two aircraft (13703 and 13704) were fitted with Beech 1800, air-to-air pods in May 1972. All aircraft were fitted with side cargo doors. The airframes were ageing and a replacement was sought. The purchase of five Airbus A310, from Canadi>n Airlines International, was in many ways another quick fix. The two aerial tankers remained in use until April 1997.
The range of 13701 to 13705 was applied with delivery of the five aircraft.
The Twin Otter was purchased for the Canadian Armed Forces with eight aircraft delivered in May 1971. No. 424 Squadron at CFB Trenton was the first user, of the twin-engine light transport, where it initially replaced the Labrador/Voyageur. A detachment was established at Yellowknife. On October 15, 1971, 440 Squadron also became a user when it took administrative control of the Twin Otter detachment at Yellowknife. No. 424 squadron provided assets for United Nations duty. At the start of the Indo-Pakistan war, a Canadian Armed Forces Twin Otter, in full United Nations markings, was destroyed on the ground by the Indian Air Force on December 5, 1971. A replacement was purchased in November 1973. No. 424 Squadron Twin Otters were transferred to 413 Squadron at CFB Summerside before all were transferred to 440 Squadron. CFB Namao became the main base for the Twin Otter with a Yellowknife detachment. The reserve 418 Squadron was twinned with 440 Squadron and continued until up-sized to be twinned with 435 Squadron using the Hercules. The remainder of 440 Squadron moved to Yellowknife after several aircraft were sold.
The eight Twin Otter received serials in the 13801 to 13809 serial range, with 13809 added later.
The civilian Bell 206B Jetranger light helicopter was purchased as a replacement for the Kiowa in use with 3 CFFTS at CFB Portage la Prairie, the first arriving on May 20, 1981. After some modifications at the start of 1990, the Jetranger was used in support of United Operations in Honduras with 89 RWAU (Rotary Wing Aviation Unit). The type continued after helicopter training was contracted to civilian management with the Jetranger carrying both civilian and military registrations.
The Jetranger was assigned the 139301 to 139314 serial range. When taken over by civilian management the follow airliner registrations were added: 139301 C-FTHA, 139302 C-FTHB, 139303 C-FTHC, 139304 C-FTHJ, 139305 C-FTHK, 139306 C-FTHL, 139307 C-FTHM, 139308 C-FTHN, 139309 C-FTHP, 139310 C-FTHQ, 139311 C-FTHR, 139312 C-FTHV, 139313 C-FTHW and 139314 C-FTHX.
The Lockheed Orion anti-submarine patrol aircraft first flew on August 19, 1958 and was a development of the Electra airliner which had first flown in 1957. The P-3 Orion was the main aerial anti-submarine warfare platform for the USN. As a replacement for the Argus, the Orion, or CP-140 Aurora, the Canadian name, was selected with the first example rolled out on January 25, 1979 and accepted in June 1980. Other types considered were the Boeing 707, Atlantic, Nimrod, DC-10 and a remanufactured Argus. The 18 Aurora had the anti-submarine warfare fit from the S-3 Viking.
The type operated from CFB Greenwood with 404, 405 and 415 (MP) squadrons and the MPEU. The only other location was CFB Comox where 407 Squadron equipped with the Aurora. All were delivered by March 1981. The Aurora was used in the anti-submarine warfare, reconnaissance and sovereignty patrol roles.
The last three airframes from the Lockheed production at Burbank, California were purchased under the Canadian Armed Forces name Arcturus CP-140A and flown to Canada for completion. The first was delivered on November 30, 1992. The airframe maintained the MAD boom but anti-submarine warfare gear was not carried.
The range of 140101 to 140118 were applied to the Aurora. All were noted test flying with US civil registrations before delivery. The three add-on CP-140A Arcturus extending the serial range to 140121.
Two Dash 8-100 aircraft were purchased as transports to replace the two Dash 7 CC-132 in service with 412 detachment at CFB Lahr. The first entered service in March 1987 and assigned to CFB Lahr starting in April 1987 and the pair returned to Canada for use with 402 squadron in October 1989 and April 1970. They were replaced by a CC-109.
Four more aircraft, Dash 8M, model 102, were purchased under the CT-142 designation as navigation trainers for 402 Squadron/CFANS at CFB Winnipeg. Two arrived in December 1989 and the last pair in May 1991, all equipped with the extended "Gonzo" nose. These replaced Hercules equipped for the navigation training role. No. 402 Squadron operated all four CT-142 for CFANS and the two transports.
The six aircraft purchased were assigned serials due to start with 142301 but changed to 142801 to 142806 before delivery.
The only BK117 helicopter was the Canadian assembled test example C-FIOM. It flew with AETE in the second half of 1990, returning to C-FIOM registration after testing at Holloman AFB and Vandenberg AFB. (see fiction section for Bell 212 notes)
The sole BK117 was painted with the 143106 serial for under one year before returning to C-FIOM. The reason for this serial was the construction number 7106.
The Canadair Challenger executive transport was originally designed as the Learstar 600. The first Challenger 600 prototype flew on November 8, 1978. Six Challengers were contracted in 1981, with the first delivered on May 3, 1983. All six entered service with 412 Squadron in the executive transport role (ie station wagon version) on April 13, 1983. The production and delivery of Canadian Armed Forces Challengers were done in a complex weave, with all but two having prior operators. Two were with the Ministry of Transport when the MOT gave up the executive transport role, retaining only a pair for calibration work. The first 12 Canadian Armed Forces aircraft were based on the CL-600, with wing tip extensions added later.
The Challenger fleet was initially assigned to 412 Squadron at CFB Ottawa. Several aircraft were assigned to 414 Squadron at CFB North Bay, starting on February 17, 1987, to replace the electronic warfare Falcon. Challengers, when modified for the electronic warfare role, were designated CE-144. With the down sizing of CFB North Bay, 414 Squadron split on July 4, 1992 with some Silver Stars and the Challengers going to CFB Greenwood to form 434 Squadron on July 5, 1992 with the remaining assets of VU 32.
When modified for the maritime patrol mission, aircraft were to be designated CP-144A. The reserve 420 Squadron was twinned with 434 operating the same equipment. The second built Challenger (144612) was designated VX-144A and assigned to AETE for test work. The budget to modify the aircraft was not forth coming and was retired. It was not considered a production aircraft and had little in common with the remainder of the fleet.
Four CL-601 (144611-144613) were owned by the treasury board, but operated by 412 Squadron as executive transports and remaining CL-600 were transferred to 434 Squadron at CFB Shearwater.
By mid 1997 the following versions remained in service: CC-144A 600 basic (602, 604, 605 and 610), CC-144B (614, 615 and 616), CE-144A 600 IEST (Interim Electronic System Trainer 607 and 611), CE-144B 600 ARS (Airborne Receiver System-Electronic Intelligence 603) and CE-144C 600 EST (Electronic Systems Trainer 606, 608 and 609).
The Challenger carried serials in the 144601 to 144616 range. Within a very complicated delivery order, the serials were not assigned to the order of acceptance. One aircraft (144612) carried the 144600 serial for a short time.
Three Awood Air King Air 200 light passenger transports were used by the Central Flying School following the withdrawal of the Dakota from the multi-engine training role. The two initial aircraft (145201 C-FJRT and 145202 C-FIWH) were found not to have the same cockpit layout. A third aircraft was leased replacing the first 145201, re-using the same serial. The lease from Awood Aviation expired after the introduction of the King Air C90A at Southport.
The Bell model 412 utility helicopter was ordered for use in the Canadian Armed Forces to replace Iroquois, Twin Huey and Kiowa at AETE, Combat Support Squadrons (417, 439 and 444), tactical helicopter squadrons (403, 408, 427 and 430) and reserve formations at Downsview/Borden and St-Hubert. One hundred were ordered in April 1992 without tender. Deliveries to the Canadian Armed Forces began in August 1994, replacing the Iroquois with Combat Support squadrons, then the Kiowa and Twin Huey with tactical helicopter squadrons. The first deployment to Haiti was from 430 squadron with five Griffon (146428, 146429, 146431, 146433 and 146436) in 1997. These aircraft carried white patches over the standard camouflage rather than an overall white scheme.
Serials for the 100 aircraft started uncharacteristically with 146400, running through to 146499.
The Chinook had been the main heavy lift and transport helicopter with the U.S. Army starting in 1962. Eight aircraft were ordered for the Canadian Armed Forces, with the first crashing during the October 18, 1974, delivery flight. Deliveries resumed on May 2, 1975. The type replaced the Voyageur with 450 Squadron at CFB Ottawa and the west detachment at CFB Namao until it became 447 Squadron on January 1, 1979.
The type was retired in mid 1991 as a cost saving measure. No. 447 Squadron disbanded and 450 received further Twin Huey. All seven were sold to the Dutch government in 1992 for modification and upgrade to CH-47D standard. In 1997, the Chinook was again under consideration for service with the Canadian Armed Services as a replacement for the Labrador CH-113/A fleet.
The eight Chinooks received serials in the 147001 to 147008 range, with 147009 added later.
When the useful life of Boeing 707 was coming to an end, the Canadian Armed Forces sought a replacement. Canadi>n airlines International had purchased Wardair Canada with its fleet of 12 Airbus A310-304 passenger aircraft in 1989. The aircraft were gradually withdrawn from use and sold. The Canadian Armed Forces purchased a total of five with deliveries starting on January 22, 1982 for use with 437 Squadron. One aircraft had been modified with a executive interior. The incoming Liberal government refused to use the aircraft and unsuccessfully tried to sell it, then de-modified it for use. The type was used as a troop transport on many United Nations deployments. Cargo doors and strengthened floors were retro fitted starting in 1997.
All five delivered aircraft were assigned serials in the 15001 to 15005 range. All five carried Canadi>n airlines International fleet numbers on the nose gear door, in addition military serials on the tail. These are: 15001 216, 15002 212, 15003 2021, 5004 205 and 15005 204.
The Hawk first flew in May 1975 and has been under production since 1979 in various models for many nations. The Hawk is also built by McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) for the US military. Deliveries started in July 2000 with 18 on order at the time. The Canadian Forces use the BAE Systems Hawk 115 trainer for the NFTC flying training program under contract to Bombardier Aerospace Defence Services at Moose Jaw. The number of aircraft ordered has been continually added to as further nations join the program
The Hawks use the new overall blue training colour and carry military serials with 155201-155218. The are not owned by the Canadian Force, hence the lack of full "FIP" markings.
The Pilatus PC-7 trainer first flew in April 1966. Production examples coming off the Swiss manufactures line in 1978. The aircraft is used by several nations. It was adopted for the US military as a basic trainer under the JPATS program and named T-6A Texan II. Following the World War II was adopted of the name Harvard for the US designed Texan, the Canadian Forces resurrected the Harvard II name for the new trainer built by Raytheon. As with the Hawk, the Harvard II is used at the Moose Jaw base of the NFTC to train Canadian and participating nations under contract. The total number of aircraft ordered may be added to as further nations join the NFTC program.
The Harvard IIs use the new overall blue training colour, with a white stripe and carry military serials starting with 156101-156114. They are not owned by the Canadian Force, hence the lack of full "FIP" markings.
The Voodoo, Starfighter and CF-5 were to be replaced by a single aircraft type. A study was initiated in early 1977 to find a replacement under the New Fighter Aircraft program. Candidates for the Canadian Armed Forces were Tomcat, Eagle, Fighting Falcon, Hornet, Tornado, Mirage F.1 and Mirage 2000. Canada had originally participated in the Tornado program. The Eagle was favoured but higher costs and undeveloped air-to-ground capability, at the time, were a negative factor as the aircraft had to meet requirements for both interceptor and ground attack. One important factor in the choice was the dual engine fit, as the interceptor role would require flights in the expansive Canadian environment where distances between airfields were greater than in the European environment. The drogue and probe aerial refuelling system used on existing Hornet design was compatible with the CF-5A and Boeing 707 tankers. Also to be installed and unique to Canadian Armed Forces and the Finnish Air Force Hornets, was the port side identification searchlight.
The Tomcat came close with airframes from Iran, but the Hornet was selected with the Canadian Armed Forces becoming the launch customer for shore-based version. On April 10, 1980 an order for 113 single and 24 two-seaters was announced. In June 1982, the order was increased by one two-seater. The seat mix was changed in April 1985, with fifteen more two-seat aircraft ordered at the expense of fifteen single-seat aircraft. By using the CF-188 designation numerous other designations were passed.
The first CF-18 was rolled out at St. Louis July 28, 1982 and was flown to Ottawa for the acceptance ceremony on October 25, 1982. The former Voodoo operational training unit 410 Squadron, established at CFB Cold Lake on June 11, 1982, carried on the same role with the Hornet. The first Hornet arrived on October 26, 1982 and was assigned to the squadron four days later.
The first Hornet to visit CFB Baden-Soellingen was on June 17, 1981 when USN F-18B (161249) flew in from the Paris air show, with a KA-3B Skywarrior (147665) escort. The first Canadian Hornets were four (188712, 188714, 188903, 188914) deployed to CFB Baden-Soellingen between May 18 and June 1, 1984 from 410 Squadron to test facilities.
The first operational squadron was 409 Squadron, forming at CFB Cold Lake in August 1984. It was due to remain as a NORAD assigned squadron, but deployed to CFB Baden-Soellingen during April and May 1985. The three CFB Baden-Soellingen based Starfighter squadrons stood down with 439 Squadron on November 29, 1984, becoming operational a year later with the CF-18. In April 1985 425 Squadron reformed at CFB Bagotville. This was followed by 421 Squadron on October 1, 1985, becoming operational in June 1986 and 441 Squadron in July 1987. Hornet deliveries continued with 433 Squadron at CFB Bagotville in December 1987 and 416 Squadron at CFB Cold Lake in December 1988. The only other flying user was AETE at CFB Cold Lake. The three European based squadrons (409, 439 and 441 squadrons) belonged to 1 CAG until May 1988, when 4 (Fighter) Wing assumed the role. CFB Lahr was the wartime location of 3 Wing with reinforcing Hornets from Canada. Both became part of 1 Canadian Air Division on May 28, 1988.
In October 1990, 409 Squadron deployed 18 aircraft to Qatar as part of the allied build up of allied forces in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. In mid December 1990 a rotation of crews took place with 439 Squadron taking over with crews of 416 Squadron added, hence the combined name "Desert Cats". This exchange also saw the complement of single-seat Hornets increased to 24, with a further pair added later. The conflict began on January 13, 1991 with the Hornets providing air cover. The Gulf War was the first time since World War II that Canadian air power was used in harms way. On January 20 ground the attack role was added, with a total of 56 missions flown. These were flown with snake-eye bomb fins wired shut. The sorties were not specifically close support missions as nearly all weapons were released by radar guidance. A total of forty aircraft were cycled through the theatre from CFB Baden-Soellingen and Canada. Aircraft had markings from all squadrons except 433 Squadron. A number of two-seaters were moved to 1 CAD from Canada during the conflict to keep hours up for remaining squadrons in Europe.
In Europe the three Hornet squadrons continued until August 1991 when 409 Squadron disbanded with assets passing to the remaining two squadrons. On June 1, 1992, 421 Squadron disbanded, with many assets returning to Canada. The last 439, Squadron ceased operations in November 1992 with Hornets returning to Canada starting on January 19, 1993. The squadron disbanded, on paper, in May 1993. the remaining unit were; 3 Wing, CFB Bagotville - 425 and 433 and at 4 Wing, CFB Cold Lake - 410, 416, 441 and AETE.
Six Hornets were based at Aviano AB, Italy during the lead up events to the NATO bombing campaign in early summer 1999. During the bombing, for which Canadian Hornets flew some 945 sorties, 22 aircraft were used with a maximum of 18 on site at a time. All unit contributed to the effort.
Serials were assigned using the out of sequence 188*** range. It was thought the 146*** range was considered before adopting 188701 to 188813 for singles seat and 188901 to 188924 for CF.-188B two-seat aircraft. This was amended when the single-seat, two-seat mix was changed several times until the ranges fixed at 188701 to 188798 and 188901 to 188940. Thus the 1888** range was not used.