The Canadian Department of National Defense has stated that it has been working on this consolidation of the fleet since 2018, and that once the aircraft have been purchased, they are expected to be delivered by this same summer 2020 with initial operating capacity scheduled for the fall of this same 2020.
In its statement on the purchase, the Canadian Department of National Defense (DND) noted that the retired aircraft, which entered service in the 1980s, do not meet operational requirements and are almost out of date due to new standards for the United States and Europe that will restrict their ability to fly internationally before the end of this year.
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Challenger’s current fleet consists of four aircraft, including the two aircraft to be retired and the two acquired in the early 2000s.
The DND has noted that about 80% of the hours of CAF Challenger Fleet annual flights are used in support of Utility Flight Services, which contribute to CAF operations, training and liaison functions.
This CAF fleet performs a number of functions such as reconnaissance and liaison missions with international partners, urgent deployments, including the deployment of the country’s Disaster Assistance Response Team, and the transportation of senior government officials from all parts due to safety and security considerations.
The DND has also noted that without this aircraft substitution, the operational effectiveness of the Royal Canadian Air Force for missions would be limited.
The aircraft are also used for the medical evacuation of military personnel serving abroad and the safe transportation of CAF medical personnel and specialized equipment in the critical first hours and days of an injured person.
The aircraft are also used for the safe extraction and repatriation of personnel and citizens, DND explains, while also allowing specialized equipment to be transported from Canada to theaters of operations around the world.
Nationally, this fleet is also being used as part of the Government of Canada’s effort to support northern, indigenous and remote communities during COVID-19.
In May 2020, she assisted with the delivery of COVID-19 test supplies to Nunavut. The aircraft has been ready to assist our provincial and territorial partners with medical evacuations, DND explains, if necessary.