Canadian Hornet debuts in Ostrava

07.08.2017, 15:30

Visitors of this year's NATO Days in Ostrava & Czech Air Force Days can look forward to an extraordinary premiere. The Royal Canadian Air Force will participate for the first time with its CF-18 Hornet fighter jet.

Participation of Canadian aircraft in European air shows is truly an extraordinary event due to the distance of this country. This year, it will appear in Ostrava thanks to several circumstances and cooperation between organizers of near-term events - NATO Days and air shows in Lens and Sanicole.

 “The main purpose of Canadian aircraft being in Europe are not public events, but their contribution to an allied exercise Serpentex 2017, which remains a priority. Canadians also plan to participate in an air show in Lens which is considered this year a remembrance of Canadian victory in the WWI that took place precisely one hundred years ago. Therefore, our cooperation with organizers of this event has helped with the participation of Canadian Hornet in Ostrava,” explains Zdeněk Pavlačík, the chairman of Jagello 2000 that is the main organizer of NATO Days. “Canadian debut is symbolic for our show as well because it not only enlarges the number of NATO members, which have already attended NATO Days, but also represents the strength of the transatlantic relationship.”

F-18s participated twice in dynamic displays at NATO Days in previous three years, representing Swiss and Finnish air forces. But it happened only once that F-18 was seen in a static display - ten years ago thanks to Spain. Canadian and Spanish aircraft also share one special feature which are “fake cockpits” painted at the bottom of the fuselage in order to confuse enemies during air combat. “Another point of interest regarding organization is a fact that only one pilot without any additional personnel will bring the Hornet which will also be a part of the static display. That is very unusual among participants,” adds Pavlačík.

F-18 jets were originally manufactured as multirole aircraft for operations on board of US Navy aircraft carriers. Due to their high qualities, they were integrated into other countries' air forces which operate them from ground bases, although even these export F-18s possess the ability to land on aircraft carriers. The same goes for the Canadian aircraft referred to as CF-18 even though the last Canadian aircraft carrier was decommissioned in 1970.

Canadian CF-18 Hornet fighter jets do not only participate in military exercises in Europe, but they also took part in the Baltic Air Policing in 2014. In 2011, they contributed to the intervention in Libya and between 2014 and February 2016 they joined the coalition against the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

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