Canadian military is testing a new engine that would power a new type of fighter jet and will test it next year, the National Post has learned.
The engine, dubbed an A-12C, would be the first in the world to have been designed by Canadian engineers using an Australian-made jet engine that’s been in service for decades.
The A-11C is expected to fly sometime in 2020, a year after Canada’s CF-18 CF-35 fighter jet, which is also a Canadian fighter, takes off from a base in Ontario.
The jet was designed to be used in the air-to-air combat role, and has proven itself in combat operations against ISAF forces in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
While the A-10C is the same jet in size and capability as the A 12C, it would be powered by a different jet engine.
The Canadian military says it is still in the development stage of developing the new A-14 engine, which would have to be tested first in Canada.
The new A 12c engine will be able to run at higher altitudes and fly at a higher speed than the A 10C, which can only be flown at a low altitude of less than 500 metres.
The main advantage of the A 11C is that it is smaller, lighter and quieter than the existing A 12 engine, the Defence Department said in a statement.
The program is being conducted by the Royal Canadian Air Force, the CF-188 Lightning II, the RCAF’s Experimental Aircraft Unit and the Canadian Forces Experimental Aircraft Squadron at CFB Trenton.
The aircraft are being developed to replace the ageing CF-111A, which are being retired in favour of the newer CF-100s.
The CF-201F, a medium-lift, twin-engine fighter, has been undergoing extensive maintenance since the early 1980s, and was only replaced in the mid-1990s.
A-13C is based on the Canadian-made A-9 engine that has been in production for the last half century.
The next generation of the jet is expected in 2023, according to the Defence Ministry.
The plane is also expected to be able “to carry heavier munitions such as cluster munitions and laser-guided munitions” and “provide advanced targeting capabilities”.
“The Canadian Defence Force continues to seek solutions to reduce the cost of its aircraft and its programs to improve interoperability, capability and affordability,” the Defence department said.
The test flights will be conducted by Canadian Forces Aviation Forces Squadron 3 at CFBP Trenton, as part of the Air Combat Capabilities Program.
“The A-15C is being developed for the RIM-162/204 program,” the statement added.
“This aircraft is the next step in Canada’s long-term commitment to deliver new combat aircraft and capabilities to the Air Forces.”
The Defence Department is looking for ideas for how to commercialise the A 14C.
“Our aviation community has the experience, technical know-how and skills to develop and deliver innovative, high-performance aircraft to our national security needs,” the department said in its statement.
“We welcome the support of the aerospace industry, which has provided the most cost-effective and reliable solutions for Canada’s defence needs.”
The A 12, which replaced the A 9, is a Canadian-built jet that was first used for training purposes.
The jets have been used in training and testing by the Canadian Airborne Regiment for over 50 years.
The Royal Canadian air force acquired a single A 12 from the RCC in 1974.
In the early 1990s, the government began purchasing two A 12s.