On this day in 1980 the Canadian Forces awards a contract for 138 McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet fighters. The first one was delivered in 1982 and was officially introduced into military service on January 7, 1983.
More commonly known as the CF-18, the Hornets have participated in combat during the Gulf War in 1991, the Kosovo War in the late 1990s, and as part of the Canadian contribution to the international Libyan no-fly zone in 2011.
The need to upgrade the CF-18 was demonstrated during the Gulf War I deployment and during the 1998 Kosovo conflict as advances in technology had rendered some of the avionics on board the CF-18 obsolescent and incompatible with NATO allies. In 2000, CF-18 upgrades became possible when the government increased the defence budget.
In 2001, the Incremental Modernization Project (IMP) was initiated. The project was broken into two phases over a period of eight years and was designed to improve air-to-air and air-to-ground combat capabilities, upgrade sensors and the defensive suite, and replace the datalinks and communications systems on board the CF-18 from the old F/A-18A and F/A-18B standard to the current F/A-18C and D standard. Boeing (merged with McDonnell Douglas) the primary contractor and L-3 Communications the primary subcontractor, was issued a contract for the modernization project starting in 2002. A total of 80 CF-18s, consisting of 62 single-seat and 18 dual-seat models were selected from the fleet for the upgrade program. The project is supposed to extend the life of the CF-18 until around 2017 to 2020.aviation, aviation history