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Quebec-based L-3 MAS gets nod for CF-18 Hornet maintenance

Rob Colman
September 07, 2010
On September 1st at Mirabel, the Canadian government announced the renewal of a contract with Quebec-based L-3 Communications MAS to maintain the CF-18 Hornet fleet. This new mandate, valued at nearly half-a-billion dollars, covers the period 2010 to 2017 with an option for three additional years.
The lifecycle of the CF-18 fighter jets is projected to last until at least 2017, when the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter will become operational in the Canadian Forces.

L-3’s primary responsibilities in maintaining the CF-18 fleet, which it has done for nearly 25 years, includes developing, testing and uploading maintenance software, testing the structural components, engineering services and fly-in repairs. This renewal will ensure 400 jobs in Mirabel, Bagotville, Que., Quebec, Que., and Cold Lake, Alta., over the course of the next seven to 10 years.

“Our government has awarded to L-3 Communications MAS this important contract to keep the CF-18 fleet in optimal condition until its retirement at the end of this decade,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper.  “This will of course strengthen Canadian sovereignty but it will also generate significant economic benefits for the Canadian aerospace industry.”

"By renewing this contract to maintain the fighter jet aircraft CF-18 Hornet until the end of their useful life, the federal government is preserving an expertise that has been developed over the past 25 years and is recognized worldwide," said Gilles Labbé, chairman of Aéro Montréal and president and CEO of Héroux-Devtek. "Retaining this centre of excellence in Mirabel is an important asset for the long-term development of numerous Quebec supply chain companies."

The Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) was also pleased with the government's decision.

"This decision will ensure the reliability and safety of our fleet as well as secure up to 500 high quality aerospace jobs in Mirabel and the Greater Montreal area," said Dr. Claude Lajeunesse, President & CEO of AIAC.

"Aircraft maintenance demands highly-skilled workers focussed on preventing and finding solutions to technical problems in an environment that allows no margin of error," he added.

"These large contracts help to support innovation and preserve stimulating high value-added jobs, thereby contributing to the development of our industry," explained Suzanne M. Benoît, CEO of Aéro Montréal.

Quebec's aerospace sector today employs 40,000 people and generates revenues of $12.4 billion, or around 60% of the Canadian total. With 98% of Quebec's aerospace activity concentrated in Greater Montreal, the region is one of the world's leading aerospace centres, along with Seattle and Toulouse.

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