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Canadian special forces will receive three new surveillance aircraft from the U.S. with the planes expected to arrive in 2022.
But the cost is substantially more than what the U.S. Air Force spends to buy the same or similar aircraft.
The three Beechcraft King Air planes, to be based at CFB Trenton in Ontario, will be outfitted with sensors and equipment to intercept cell phone and other electronic transmissions. Canadian special forces and, potentially, other government departments will use them for missions overseas and in Canada.
The agreement for the aircraft was finalized on April 26 with the U.S. government. Three aircraft and equipment will be delivered in the spring of 2022, the Canadian Forces noted.
The agreement signed with the U.S. government is for $188 million (CAN).
The U.S. Air Force lists the cost of the MC-12W surveillance aircraft as $17 million each or around $23 million Canadian. That includes communications/sensors and modification of the aircraft for that equipment. So three aircraft should cost in total about $70 million Canadian, give or take.
It is not clear why Canada is spending more than double the cost of the aircraft than the U.S. Air Force. It could be that the aircraft are not exactly the same but does that account for more than double the cost?
Postmedia asked the Canadian Forces for an explanation last week but there has been no response.
If an answer is provided then this article will be updated.
The main contractor for the planes is Beechcraft in Wichita, Kan.
(Main photo above courtesy of USAF)
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