Calgary

Avionics contractor opens $2.5M expansion of Calgary fighter jet repair facility

Avionics contractor Peraton celebrated Tuesday the opening of a $2.5-million expansion to its Calgary facility, along with one huge milestone.

Peraton recently completed its 50,000th repair for RCAF

Col. Francois Bradley is the director of the aerospace equipment management program with the RCAF. (CBC)

Avionics contractor Peraton celebrated the opening Tuesday of a $2.5-million expansion to its Calgary facility, along with one huge milestone.

The facility — which opened in 1999 — completed its 50,000th repair for the Royal Canadian Air Force's fleet.

Peraton repairs and maintains the CF-188s — popularly known as CF-18 Hornets — that are still in service with the RCAF. The government has announced it plans to eventually replace the aging fleet, but in the meantime is working to keep the remaining 76 planes in service.

"It's a lot of airplanes, a lot of support required," said Col. Francois Bradley, the director of the aerospace equipment management program with the RCAF.

Bradley described it as a constant battle to keep jets safe to operate for Canada's missions with NATO and NORAD.

"It's always a balance between maintaining what we have and upgrading or changing or modifying to something newer or more economical."

Peraton employees listen as the company announces the opening of the Calgary operation's expansion. (CBC)

Jim Gillespie, the vice-president of Peraton Canada, said Calgary has a strong aerospace and defence industry.

The facility, located in the city's northeast near the Calgary International Airport, is just blocks away from another military contractor, Raytheon Canada.

Peraton's 76,000-sq.ft. building has now expanded to add an engineering lab.

Gillespie said the company works on both scheduled maintenance and unexpected failures or incidents with the aging jet fleet — but at the end of the day, the main thing is supporting the pilots.

"We think about operational readiness and supporting deployments more than we think about the technical engineering problems," he said.

With files from Mike Symington.

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