October 23, 2010:
Canada has awarded $700 million in contracts to two commercial firms (Harris and L3) to provide maintenance for its F-18 fleet of jet fighters over the next nine years. These contracts are increasingly popular, as they provide a cheaper way to provide all the more complex maintenance, other than what the ground crews do on a daily basis. This involves major overhauls, management of spare parts and upgrades of equipment. This includes the airframe, engines and electronics. Canada expects to retire its 80 CF-18s by 2020, and replace them with 65 F-35s. The CF-18s were purchased in the 1980s. Of the 128 originally received, 103 remain and 80 have been upgraded and remain in regular service.