The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is set to replace its two Challenger model 601 utility aircraft with 650 variant.

The replacement will enable the forces to continue to carry out mission-critical operations.

Challenger model 601 utility aircraft were inducted into service in the 1980s. The CAF has four aircraft in its fleet, with the other two bought in the early 2000s.

Due to the new regulations in the US and Europe, these aircraft will not be eligible for international flights as they are not compliant with international standards.

Under the $105m contract, the Department of National Defence expects to take delivery of two new aircraft later this year.

The delivery package will also include initial training and associated spare parts.

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The aircraft will attain initial operational capability this autumn.

Canadian Minister of National Defence the Harjit S Sajjan said: “This purchase is another example of our government’s commitment to provide the CAF with the modern equipment they need to carry out the critical work we ask of them.

“This fleet is a crucial operational capability and ensuring its continuity is another important investment in our women and men in uniform.”

The Challenger aircraft were used for medical evacuation and transport of military personnel and equipment. The aircraft were also used to support the government’s effort during Covid-19.

Transport Canada technicians are responsible for maintaining the Challenger fleet.