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Statement by Minister Blair and Minister Petitpas Taylor on the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force

The Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Bill Blair, and the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, issued the following statement:

“Today, we celebrate 100 years since the founding of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in 1924. This milestone anniversary is an opportunity to highlight the RCAF’s outstanding work in defending Canada’s sovereignty and contributing to global peace and security.

“Members of the RCAF have served in harsh and challenging conditions during some of Canada’s most pivotal moments. RCAF members made enormous sacrifices to defend democracy during the Second World War. Following the conflict, they again deployed overseas to support United Nations forces fighting in Korea, and to protect our NATO allies during the Cold War.

“For decades, Canadian aviators have helped protect North America through the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD). More recently, on expeditionary operations in the conflict in the Gulf, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq, our air force worked alongside our allies to actively defend peace and security around the world.  Our aviators also contributed to peacekeeping efforts in places like the Middle East, Central America, East Timor, Haiti, South Sudan and Mali. 

“In the past few years, RCAF members have been hard at work to deliver approximately 16 million pounds of Ukraine-bound military aid. They have been there to assist Canadians during natural disasters here at home and during international crises, all while carrying out their Search and Rescue role to help people in need.

“None of this work would happen without thousands of dedicated Canadians who make the RCAF’s missions possible. We thank and express our deepest admiration to all those who support missions in Canada and around the world: the engineers, avionics technicians, intelligence operators, control tower officers, chaplains, cooks, image techs and other service members, as well as the civilian staff working behind the scenes to support their efforts.

“Our Air Force has a proud history, and we are confident that it will also have a bright future. To ensure Canada’s ability to defend itself from new and emerging threats, we are making historic investments in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Over the last few years, we have invested approximately $44 billion and signed agreements for approximately 140 new or refurbished aircraft for the RCAF. This includes new fleets of F-35 fighter jets, P-8A Poseidon multi-mission aircraft, Remotely Piloted Aircraft, Strategic Tanker Transport Aircraft, and more.

“In addition, in June 2022, we announced a generational investment of $38.6 billion to modernize NORAD. This is the most significant upgrade to Canada’s NORAD capabilities in almost four decades and will enhance our ability to detect threats and better position us to protect North America.

“Today, we offer our sincere congratulations to all current and former RCAF members on this historic milestone. To RCAF members past and present: thank you for your commitment to keeping Canada safe and to global peace and security.

“The legacy of the RCAF, the collective spirit of its people, and its bright future demonstrate that the RCAF remains strong and ready to adapt to modern challenges.”

“Sic itur ad astra.”

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