report by: René Vallée
Canadian Forces Base Bagotville (IATA: YBG, ICAO: CYBG), commonly referred to as CFB Bagotville, is a Canadian Forces Base located 4.5 nautical miles (8.3 km; 5.2 mi) west of Bagotville in the city of Saguenay, Quebec. It is operated as an air force base by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and is one of two bases in the country using the CF-18 Hornet fighter/interceptor . The base at Bagotville opened on 17 July 1942. RCAF Station Bagotville hosted the 1 Operational Training Unit (1 OTU) which trained pilots from commonwealth nations under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP).
No. 431 (Fighter) Squadron re-formed at RCAF Station Bagotville on 18 January 1954 using the Sabre. On 1 February 1968 the RCAF merged with the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Army to form the Canadian Forces; RCAF Station Bagotville changed its name to Canadian Forces Base Bagotville. Later that year 410 squadron formed at CFB Bagotville to provide training. . On 1 July 1984 425 squadron changed from the CF-101 Voodoo to the CF-188 Hornet.
On 1 April 1993 CFB Bagotville became home to 3 Wing, which administers all Air Command units on base. The same day 439 “Tiger” squadron was reformed from elements of the existing Base Flight Bagotville, flying the CT-133 Silver Star and CH-118 Huey. The CT-133 fleet was retired in 2001 and in 1996 439 squadron’s four CH-118s were replaced by three CH-146 Griffons.On 1 March 1999 12 Radar Squadron was formed at CFB Bagotville to provide tactical control of fighter/interceptor aircraft; it replaced a radar station at RCAF Station Mont Apica which was closed. 433 Squadron disbanded in 2006 with its aircraft and personnel absorbed by 425 Squadron as a dual language Francophone/Anglophone unit. The squadron was reactivated on 9 June 2015. As the Royal Canadian Air Force’s frontline multi-role fighter, the modernized CF-18 is used for air defence, air superiority, tactical support, training, aerobatic demonstration, and aerospace testing and evaluation. The CF-18 has recently been put through a two-phase modernization program, a comprehensive mid-life upgrade to ensure that the Canadian Forces have a modern and interoperable fighter fleet.
Phase I of the Incremental Modernization Project was completed in 2006. This first phase of the CF-18 modernization project included among others, the procurement and installation of a new radar, jam-resistant radios, mission computers and embedded global positioning systems. Phase II of the Incremental Modernization Project, which was finished in 2010, included the installation and integration of a tactical data link system, helmet cueing system, colour displays, upgraded countermeasures dispensers, and a triple-deck cockpit video recorder, among outfitting the CF-18s with other technologically advanced equipment. In addition to the two modernization phases for CF-18 aircraft, other CF-18 projects are either completed or ongoing to align the CF-18 aircraft with a fully integrated air capability thus increasing Air Force interoperability with our allies as well as our ability to respond to threats to North America.
Bagotville also supports 414 Electronic Warfare Support Squadron reformed on 20 January 2009. This squadron is based in Ottawa and is composed of military Electronic Warfare Officers who fulfill the combat support role, flying on civilian contracted aircraft. Discovery Air Defence Services Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jets are based here as part of the CF jet training program Contracted Airborne Training Services. Globalairpower would like to thank all CFB Bagotville staff for their help completing this article.