A Canadian CF-18 Hornet fighter jet has crashed near Cold Lake Alberta, killing the pilot in what was described as a training accident. A rescue helicopter was dispatched to the scene at an air weapons range yesterday. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, who was in the House of Commons when the news broke and appeared shaken, told reporters: "Regrettably the pilot has been lost and a next of kin has been notified." "I just got off the phone with (the chief of the defence staff) General Jonathan Vance and our prayers go out to the families," he added. Cold Lake is home to a tactical fighter squadron and training units. The accident comes less than a week after Canada announced plans to order 18 Boeing Super Hornet fighter jets while seeking offers to update the rest of its ageing combat fleet. Canada's current fleet of fighter jets is more than three decades old and was scheduled to be retired in 2020, but could now see a decade more of service. The 18 new Super Hornets will help fill a "capability gap" and allow Canada to meet its NATO and NORAD security obligations, Sajjan said last Tuesday. They are to be deployed from 2018 as the government awaits offers on a longer-term fleet replacement.
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