Canada air force command badge
On 1 January 1986, the Royal Canadian Air Force was restored after receiving Royal Assent from HM the Queen.* It consisted of all members of hard air trades (e.g.. aero engine tech, pilot, air frame tech) those then assigned to Air Command (less army combat arms, navy trades, and former RCN and Army) plus former RCAF personnel in other commands and some NDHQ types. RCAF Blue service dress uniforms were authorized, but as it was not normally issued during the war, few RCAF pers wore it at that time.

  • So was the RCN and Canadian Army.

There were four major manufacturers/assemblers of complete aircraft in the mid-1980's and many more who made assemblies for Canadian and American companies.

MBB Canada in Fort Erie, Ontario built CH-148 (BO-105/PAH-1) light helos.
Bell Helicopter Textron in Mirabel, Quebec produced the CH-146 Griffon (Bell 412) utility helo.
DeHavilland Canada in Toronto built CC-115 Buffalo (C-8) and CC-138 (UV-18) Twin Otter. They also delivered a few CC-142 Dash-8 transports that were on the lines before switching over entirely to the Buff.
Canadair in Montreal was switched over to CF-149 (A-10) production but made a few CC-144 Challenger (CL-600) bizjets in the interim.

The McDonnell Douglas plant in Toronto (the old Avro plant) had been making wing and tail assemblies for DC-9's. It was where McAir moved AV-8B Harrier production.

There were three tactical fighter and one operational training squadrons of CF-18's at the beginning of the war. As the war went on, the CF-18A was mostly replaced by CF-18C mostly due to losses. By the end of the war, the RCAF formed four tactical fighter wings, two each of fighters (CF-18, -15A, and -15E) and two of A-10's.

In the interim, though there were two CF-5 squadrons. Quite a few CF-104 Starfighters were in store at CFD Mountain View and were placed back in service. The three disbanded CF-104 squadrons from Germany were stood back up and another CF-104 squadron was formed in Canada from 431 Air Demonstration Squadron (The Snowbirds). The CF-5's were relegated to training roles once enough A-10's were available. A few Tutors from the flight school and 431 Squadron (before it got Starfighters) at Moose Jaw, and some old T-33's from Cold Lake were pressed into service during the first desperate days. They were armed with improvised air-to-ground weapons. 

The Starfighters barely held their own as air-to-air fighters, but were good low-level strike aircraft, though with a limited payload compared to more modern equipment. They were mostly replaced by CF-15C and E (officially CF-155C and CF-155E). as they arrived. As the Starfighters were to have been replaced in a few months, spare parts increasingly became an issue.

24 TFW normally supported I CAN CORPS while 23 Wing did the same for II CORPS. 2 TAF, however, would take them separately as the situation required.

Fighter squadrons:


409 ()
425 (CF-18)
433 (CF-5)
434 (CF-5)
416 (CF-18)
421 (CF-104) reformed ex-NATO
431 (CF-104) converted from Air Demonstration (CT-114 Tutor)
439 (CF-104) reformed ex-NATO
441 (CF-104) reformed ex-NATO

Fighter Squadrons and their Wings 1989

21 TFW

409 (CF-18)
416 (CF-18)
421 (CF-15C)
439 (CF-15C)
440 (CF-15E)

22 TFW

433 (A-10) converted 1986 from CF-5
434 (A-10) converted 1986 from CF-5
417 (A-10)
422 (A-10)

23 TFW

425 (CF-18)
431 (CF-18)
441 (CF-15C)
445 (CF-15C)
446 (CF-15E)

24 TFW

426 (A-10)
428 (A-10)
447 (A-10)
448 (A-10)