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In late August this year, the Australian government and Canada began discussions to assess the potential purchase of F/A-18 fighter aircraft and associated parts the government plans to sell.

The Canadian government has now confirmed that on 29 September it submitted an expression of interest, formally marking Canada’s interest in the Australian equipment.

“Canada expects to receive a response by the end of this year that will provide details regarding the availability and cost of the aircraft and associated parts that Canada is considering,” the Canadian government said in a statement.

Australia is replacing its fleet of 71 F/A-18A/B Hornets with 72 fifth-generation F-35A Lightning II aircraft from 2018 onwards.

Last year, Canada announced plans to buy 18 Super Hornets as an interim solution for replacing a subset of the CF-18 Hornet fleet due for retirement within five years, but talks with Boeing over the planned acquisition were suspended by Canada after Boeing launched a trade challenge against Canadian plane-maker Bombardier in April, accusing the company of dumping its jet into the US market and claiming the company received unfair subsidies from the Canadian government.

Relations between Boeing and the Canadian government are unlikely to thaw anytime soon, with the US Commerce Department recently levying a 219 per cent tariff on Bombardier’s CS100 sale to Delta Air Lines.

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