The CF-18 Demonstration Team selects a theme for each year and 2016 will feature the 75th anniversary of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.
The agreement for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) was signed in late 1939 and the program ran from 1940-45.
Article XV of the BCATP agreement indicated that Australian, Canadian and New Zealand air force personnel would be identified with their respective countries, either by organizing their own national units or formations or by other methods. This eventually led to the creation of specifically Australian, Canadian and New Zealand squadrons, rather than having all air personnel of those nations serve in Royal Air Force units (although many Canadians also served in RAF squadrons). The Canadian squadrons that grew out of this article of the agreement – the so-called 400 series of squadrons – continue to form the fabric of the Royal Canadian Air Force to this day.
The first of these squadrons came into existence in 1941, which is why Canada is celebrating the BCATP’s 75th anniversary in 2016.
By the end of the Second World War, the Plan had produced 131,553 aircrew, including pilots, wireless operators, air gunners, and navigators, who were critical to the war effort. Further, tens of thousands of maintainers and support staff were recruited and trained by the RCAF to support the effort – without the contribution of these civilian men and women, the plan would have failed.
The specially painted CF-18 Hornet will feature a unique commemorative paint job designed by design director, Jim Belliveau, at 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta.
See http://www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca/en/cf-18-demo-team/index.page for more information.