The RCAF has taken delivery of the first of two Challenger 650 aircraft in an unusually quick procurement process that was only announced a few months ago. The $105 million deal with Bombardier was announced in June and the first new Challenger arrived earlier this week. It was built in Canada. The hurry-up replacement of two of the Air Force’s ancient Challenger 601s was pushed along by the fact that it didn’t make sense to spend the money necessary to upgrade the old aircraft’s avionics to include ADS-B, which is now a requirement in the U.S. The old planes were allowed into the U.S. under an exemption.
The RCAF is downplaying the principal role for the business jets, which is to take senior government and military officials to where they need to be. Instead it’s highlighting the various support roles often carried out by the executive transport squadron. “They will ensure the Canadian Armed Forces can continue its mission critical roles such as: emergency evacuations, reconnaissance and liaison missions, the deployment of the Disaster Assistance Response Team, as well as the movement of troops and supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the RCAF said in a Facebook post.