Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

September 09, 2010 11:59 ET

F-35 Lightning II Basing Announced

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 9, 2010) - While visiting 3 Wing Bagotville, Quebec, the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, announced today that sixty-five F-35 Lightning II fighter jets will be based at Canadian Forces Base Bagotville and Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake.

"The acquisition of sixty-five F-35 Lightning II aircraft is the realization of our Government's key commitment under the Canada First Defence Strategy to acquire a fifth generation fighter aircraft," said Minister MacKay. "I'm pleased to announce 3 Wing Bagotville in Quebec and 4 Wing Cold Lake in Alberta will equally serve as operating bases for Canada's new fighter jets. This provides continued and significant economic opportunities for these two communities."

Delivery of the Canadian Forces sixty-five F-35 Lightning II jets is expected to start in 2016. We expect that no less than twenty-four operational aircraft will be located at each of the wings, with the intent of maintaining a 50-50 balance between the fighter squadrons. The remaining F-35s will be attached to a training squadron at a location to be announced in the future.

"Canada's operational needs will be best served through continued use of the existing basing and infrastructure that are already supporting our fighter jet operations," stated Laurie Hawn, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, during an infrastructure announcement at 4 Wing Cold Lake. "This announcement gives local authorities and businesses the certainty they need for long-term planning."

"3 Wing Bagotville and 4 Wing Cold Lake have long and proud histories of protecting Canadian and North American airspace at home and contributing to coalition operations abroad," said Lieutenant-General André Deschamps, Chief of the Air Staff. "With the arrival of the F-35 Lightning II, both fighter Wings will be well equipped to be at forefront of fighter operations to 2050 and beyond."

3 Wing Bagotville and 4 Wing Cold Lake are vital components of the Air Force and the Canadian Forces, and they will continue to support the strong readiness posture that has marked the military's operational success, at home and abroad. Canadian Forces personnel are key to maintaining the institutional agility that is essential to mission success, and the addition of the F-35 Lightning II fighter fleet at 3 Wing and 4 Wing will help them protect the safety and security of Canadians well into the 21st Century.

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