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Canadian Forces Air Command
Canadian Forces Air Command Roundel
Canadian Forces Air Command (AIRCOM) is responsible for air force operations of the Canadian Armed Forces. AIRCOM maintains wings and squadrons at bases across Canada operating a variety of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft.
History since unification
Following unification on February 1, 1968, aircraft and bases of the RCAF and the Royal Canadian Navy (the Royal Canadian Naval Aviation Service), were scattered across several different commands of the newly unified forces. In a 1975 Canadian Forces reorganization, AIRCOM was created to handle all aviation requirements of Canada's military.
Duplication saw several base closings through the 1970s-1990s, largely as aircraft changes took place. The acquisition of the CF-188A/B Hornet tactical fighter bomber saw CF-104 Starfighter and CF-101 Voodoo fighter aircraft retired in the early-mid 1980s, along with a corresponding downturn in several bases which had been exclusively dedicated to these aircraft. The closures of CFB Chatham and CFB Baden Soellingen along with various bombing ranges and the retirement of the CF-116 fighter aircraft and Boeing 707 transport/refuelling aircraft saw AIRCOM retract to its present base and force structure.
AIRCOM also underwent significant changes in the late 1970s when the CP-107 Argus and CP-121 Tracker were replaced with the CP-140 Aurora/CP-142 Arcturus maritime patrol aircraft. The shift of east coast maritime patrol aircraft at the time of the Argus retirement to CFB Greenwood eventually saw CFB Summerside closed in the late 1980s.
In the early 1990s, AIRCOM transport and utility helicopters in support of army (Canadian Forces Land Force Command) operations were cutback and consolidated with the purchase of the CH-146 Griffon, replacing the CH-135 Twin Huey, CH-136 Kiowa, and CH-147 Chinook.
Search and rescue squadrons have also seen new aircraft when the CH-149 Cormorant replaced the CH-113 Labrador in the late 1990s. The CC-115 Buffalo short takeoff and landing fixed wing aircraft are also being replaced in the 2000s with a dedicated STOL search and rescue aircraft.
Today, maritime patrol aircraft are based at CFB Greenwood on the east coast and CFB Comox on the west coast. SAR squadrons are based at CFB Gander , CFB Greenwood , CFB Trenton and CFB Comox . Transport and utility helicopters are based at CFB Kingston, CFB Gagetown, CFB Goose Bay, CFB Valcartier, CFB Petawawa, CFB Bagotville and CFB Cold Lake . Transport and VIP aircraft are based at CFB Trenton , CFB Winnipeg , CFB Cold Lake and CFB Greenwood . Interceptor/tactical aircraft are based at CFB Cold Lake and CFB Bagotville with major low-level flying and bombing ranges for interceptor/tactical aircraft supported at CFB Cold Lake and CFB Goose Bay.
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