Minister of National Defence Announces $850 Million Investment at CFB Trenton

Plans are being drafted to revamp the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) biggest base.

Earlier this year, Minister of National Defence Bill Blair announced an investment of $850 million in Canadian Forces Base Trenton, home to 8 Wing.

Minister of National Defence Bill Blair at CFB Trenton, announcing the $850 million investment. Images courtesy of the CAF/DND.

Building New Home for New Fleet

The investment is directed at enabling CFB Trenton to host Canada’s new fleet of CC-330 Husky Strategic Tanker Transport Aircraft.

“Our government is providing the Canadian Armed Forces with the equipment it needs, while creating long-term economic benefits for Canadians through the agreements made with the industry. These procurements will advance Canadian innovation in our world-class aerospace and defence industries, create high-value jobs, and contribute to economic growth in Canada,” said Francois-Phillippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

CC-330 Husky Strategic Tanker Transport Aircraft at CFB Trenton home to 8 Wing. Images courtesy of the CAF/DND.

Major changes coming to CFB Trenton

The $850 million investment will significantly change the Trenton Air Force base’s infrastructure. According to a Department of National Defence press release, the changes include the development and design of a two-bay hangar, upgraded apron and runway, taxiways, and other infrastructure.

The upgrades will ensure CFB Trenton can be the Eastern Main Operating Base for the new CC-330 Husky fleet. A Main Operating Base in Western Canada will also be designated to support the fleet.

“The threat to Canada’s sovereignty and interests abroad, created by competition for global power and advancing technologies, remains as significant now as any time in our history. The Royal Canadian Air Force must be ready answer when our nation calls with a mission-ready, well-equipped, and combat-capable force. These investments will help build a world-class RCAF that will continue to meet Canada’s air and space defence requirements for years to come as an agile, integrated and inclusive air and space force,” said LGen. Eric Kenny, Commander RCAF.

Image: Infographic: CC-330 Husky. Images courtesy of the CAF/DND.

The CC-330 Fleet

According to the DND press release, the CAF has already acquired two Husky aircraft in the last year. In total, it is set to acquire nine, which will double the size of the previous fleet.

DND says it plans to convert the aircraft to become a multi-role tanker transport aircraft. This will allow the CAF to acquire “a variety of air mobility missions, including air-to-air refuelling, passenger transport, aeromedical evacuation, and strategic transport.”

The new fleet will replace the RCAF’s CC-150 Polaris fleet. The fleet is planned for operational capability in 2028-2029, with full operational capability between 2023-2033.

Chief of the Defence Staff General Wayne Eyre and Minister of National Defence Bill Blair at the announcement talking with the member of the Royal Canadian Air Force. Images courtesy of the CAF/DND.

Additional Aircraft

During his announcement in March, Minister Blair also toured the CAF’s new fleet of CE-145C Vigilance aircraft. These aircraft arrived at CFB Trenton in February of this year.

“The delivery of the Vigilance aircraft provides the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command with enhanced surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities that radically improves the Canadian Armed Forces’ ability to understand the environments in which we operate and will be a critical enabler to mission success. We look forward to continuing to work closely our colleagues in the Royal Canadian Air Force as Vigilance is integrated into full service over the next year,” said BGen. Richard Schmidt, Deputy Commander, Canadian Special Operations Forces Command.

According to the press release, the aircraft is “a modified Beechcraft King Air 350ER turbo prop aircraft produced by L3 Harris in Texas, under the MAISR project. It will provide a new manned airborne intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (MAISR) capability for the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM). Equipped with state-of-the-art sensors and secure communications equipment, these aircraft will provide a vital new capability for the CAF, enabling enhanced situational awareness and decision-making during operations on the ground.”

The minister officially welcomed the first of three new CE-145C Vigilance aircraft. These planes will equip Canada’ Special Forces with state-of-the-art sensors and secure communications equipment. Images courtesy of the CAF/DND.

100 Years of the RCAF

This year, the RCAF celebrates its 100th anniversary. To mark this milestone, the RCAF plans to undergo “its largest transformation in a generation.”

According to DND, since 2022, some of the projects the government has undertaken to upgrade the RCAF include:

  • 88 new F-35 fighter jets,
  • 9 CC-330 Husky Strategic Tanker Transport aircraft,
  • up to 16 new P-8A Poseidon multi-mission aircraft,
  • 16 new or upgraded Cormorant helicopters; and
  • 11 SkyGuardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems.

“As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force, I am more confident than ever in its future. With new fleets of fighter jets, maritime patrol aircraft, tanker and transport aircraft, and more arriving throughout the next few years, we are building the Royal Canadian Air Force of tomorrow. These significant investments in our military will enable the RCAF to better defend Canada and strengthen Canada’s ability to contribute to our NORAD and NATO Alliances,” said Blair, Minister of National Defence.

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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