Royal Canadian Air Force

The air force underwent a major restructuring after the Cold War ended, resulting in all Canadian combat assets being withdrawn from Europe.

Back home in Canada, fighter units were assigned to the Fighter Group which included the Canadian NORAD Region HQ at North Bay; units supporting maritime patrol and ASW activities were assigned to the Maritime Air Group, headquartered at Halifax; tactical airlift assets to Air Transport Group at Trenton; army supporting helicopters units to 10 Tactical Air Group at Montreal and reservist activities to Air Reserve Group at Winnipeg.

Another major restructuring in 1997 saw the disbandment of these groups and the establishment of 1 Canadian Air Division (1 CAD). The sole fighter type in use is the CF-188, which are concentrated under 3 Wing and 4 Wing. Eighteen former Australian F/A-18As will augment the fleet until it has been replaced by a successor, which will likely be chosen in 2022.

Maritime and rescue operations are conducted by 8, 12, 14, and 19 Wings. The CH-148 Cyclone helicopter has replaced the CH-124 Sea King and the CC-115 Buffalo will soon be replaced by the CC-295 Kingfisher. The CP-140 Aurora is being upgraded and expected to soldier on for a while, as will the CH-149 Cormorant.

Transport assets are mainly organized under 8 and 17 Wings, and has seen large changes in the 2000s with the introduction of the CC-130J Super Hercules and CC-177 Globemaster. The CC-295 Kingfisher will also find its way to these wings. Two CL-605 Challengers were obtained in 2020 to replace older CC-144 Challenger models and the next programme in line will be the replacement of the CC-150 Polaris strategic transport and tanker aircraft.

Army supporting units operating CH-146 Griffon and CH-147 Chinooks helicopters are reporting to 1 Wing.

Flying training is undertaken by NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) at 15 Wing with additional activities taking place under NFTC supervision at Southport Aerospace Centre and Cold Lake. A large contract for future replacement of training aircraft is expected to be awarded in the early 2020s, which may ultimately lead to a replacement aircraft for the Snowbirds air demonstration team as well.

The RCAF is meanwhile seeking to improve its ISR-capabilites with the purchase of Beech 350 aircraft and numerous types of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

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