Not any more

CF-18s shadow Russian military planes

In Canada on August 25, 2010 at 10:26

Two CF-18s shadowed a pair of Russian military aircraft Tuesday as they flew within 56 kilometres of Canadian soil, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

A CF-18 fighter bomber flies at the Canadian International Airshow over the Canadian National Exhibition grounds in Toronto in September 2009. A CF-18 fighter bomber flies at the Canadian International Airshow over the Canadian National Exhibition grounds in Toronto in September 2009. (Louis Nastro/Canadian Press)In a “readout” email to media early Wednesday, PMO communications director Dimitri Soudas said the TU-95 Bear aircraft were spotted approximately 220 kilometres north of Inuvik, N.W.T.

The CF-18 jets from 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alta., shadowed the Russians until both aircraft turned around, Soudas said.

“Thanks to the rapid response of the Canadian Forces, at no time did the Russian aircraft enter sovereign Canadian airspace,” he said.

The Canadian aircraft returned to base without incident.

Soudas said Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is in the Canadian North for his annual Arctic tour, was briefed during and at the end of the mission.

Defence committee to probe F-35 purchase

News of the encounter comes ahead of the House of Commons defence committee’s meetings on Wednesday to examine the government’s single-bid purchase of the new generation of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.

Soudas’s email touted the “new, highly capable and technologically advanced” F-35s, which are slated to replace Canada’s CF-18s sometime in the next decade.

“It is the best plane our government could provide our Forces, and when you are a pilot staring down Russian long-range bombers, that’s an important fact to remember,” Soudas said.

The contract, one of the biggest military equipment purchases in Canadian history, is worth $9 billion, but the full cost could rise to as much $18 billion once the government signs a maintenance contract.

The Liberals want the committee to question other potential bidders and procurement experts to determine whether a sole-sourced contract gives maximum value to the government and taxpayers.

via cbc.ca

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