Warplanes: November 24, 2002


Canada contributed some of it's CF-18 warplanes to the 1999 operations in Kosovo, but found that they were less than welcome because of their out-of-date radio equipment. The CF-18s (U.S. F-18s modified for Canadian use), were purchased in the early 1980s and have not been upgraded. By 1999, all other NATO air forces were using new radios that encrypted all messages. No one wanted to communicate too much with the CF-18s, because all messages to and from the Canadian warplanes were "in the clear" and liable to be overheard by the enemy. Canada recognized the problem and is upgrading 80 of its 144 CF-18s. But the new communications gear will not be installed until 2009. There's a lot of reluctance in Canada to getting involved in an invasion of Iraq. But even if Canadian forces did go, CF-18s would not be allowed to operate in a combat zone for fear that their antiquated radio equipment would endanger operations.


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