How Many Fighter Jets Does Canada Have (2024)?

May 15, 2024

Curious about the fighter jets protecting Canada’s airspace? We’ll not only answer the intriguing question of how many fighter jets Canada has in 2024, but also delve into the impressive aircraft that safeguard our skies. 

Get ready to explore the iconic CF-18 Hornet and get a sneak peek at the next-generation F-35 Lightning II jets on the horizon. So, buckle up and join us as we explore the power and technology of the RCAF’s fighter jets!

The Royal Canadian Air Force Aircraft List, Currently in Operation

The Royal Canadian Air Force plays a critical role in Canada’s defence strategy. When it comes to how many fighter jets Canada has, it’s good to note that their current active inventory is diverse and designed to meet various operational requirements from air defence to international peacekeeping missions. As of 2024, the Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft list of active inventory is impressive:

  • Total Aircraft: 378
  • Helicopters: 133
  • Fighter Jets: 63
  • Transport Aircraft: 36
  • Trainers: 116
  • Aerial Tankers or Refuelers: 6
  • Special-Mission Aircraft: 24

This composition provides the RCAF with the flexibility and readiness required for a range of military and humanitarian tasks. However, the backbone of Canada’s aerial combat capabilities is the CF-18 Hornet.

The CF-18 Hornet

This legendary fighter jet has been the RCAF’s workhorse since 1982. Renowned for its adaptability and performance, the Hornet remains a vital asset in Canada’s air defence strategy. Let’s take a closer look at its capabilities:

  • Multirole Prowess: Imagine a fighter jet that can morph into a chameleon, adapting to various mission requirements. That’s the CF-18! It tackles a diverse range of missions, from engaging in thrilling dogfights (air-to-air combat) to neutralizing ground threats and conducting crucial reconnaissance operations.
  • Agile Manoeuvres: This jet dances with the clouds. The CF-18 boasts exceptional manoeuvrability, allowing it to perform daring aerial acrobatics and outsmart any potential adversary.
  • Advanced Weaponry: Don’t underestimate the Hornet’s sting. It’s equipped with a sophisticated arsenal, ensuring it can defend Canadian airspace with precision and power.

Currently, the CF-18 fleet is undergoing various upgrades to extend its operational life until newer aircraft are fully integrated into service. These upgrades include enhancements in avionics, weaponry, and radar systems, ensuring that the jets remain competitive on the modern battlefield. 

Future Royal Canadian Air Force Aircraft On Order

In a significant modernization move, the Canadian government confirmed an order for 88 F-35A Lightning II jets in January 2023. These state-of-the-art stealth fighters are expected to begin replacing the aging CF-18 Hornets over the next few years, heralding a new era in Canadian military aviation.

These cutting-edge fighter jets boast:

  • Stealth Technology: Imagine a fighter jet that blends seamlessly into the background, invisible to enemy radar. The F-35 boasts this game-changing technology, allowing it to conduct missions with unmatched stealth and surprise.
  • Advanced Combat Features: From enhanced sensor technology to improved situational awareness, the F-35 is equipped with cutting-edge features that solidify the RCAF’s role as a leader in air defence.

The transition to the F-35A is expected to significantly boost the operational capabilities of the Royal Canadian air force aircraft list, providing it with enhanced air superiority, reconnaissance, and strike capabilities. The integration of the F-35A into the Royal Canadian Air Force will also involve extensive training programs for pilots and maintenance crews, investments in relevant infrastructure, and updates to operational doctrines to fully leverage the aircraft’s advanced technologies.

This future fleet of F-35A jets represents not only an upgrade in hardware but a strategic shift towards next-generation warfare capabilities, ensuring that Canada remains at the forefront of global air power.

Witnessing the Power Up Close

The Abbotsford International Airshow isn’t just about knowledge; it’s about experiencing the thrill firsthand! Come watch the CF- 18 Hornet soar in a stunning display of precision at our upcoming airshow. 

Feel the rumble of their engines, witness the grace of their manoeuvres, and gain a newfound appreciation for the guardians of Canada’s skies. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the power and technology of Canada’s many fighter jets!