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Canadian fighter jet crashes during training

A military pilot was killed when his CF-18 Hornet jet crashed near an air base in Alberta. The Canadian government is looking to update its aging fleet of fighter planes.

The military dispatched helicopters at the scene of the Monday crash, a defense department spokeswoman said.

"Regrettably the pilot has been lost and a next of kin has been notified," Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan told reporters.

"I just got off the phone with (the chief of the defense staff) General Jonathan Vance and our prayers go out to the families," he added.

The CF-18 Hornet was on a training mission, taking off from Canada's busiest fighter in base in Cold Lake, Alberta and crashing across the nearby province border in Saskatchewan.

Sajjan said that he could not yet speculate on the cause of the incident.

Canada shopping for planes

The Cold Lake air base provides training for all Canadian fighter pilots. Another pilot was killed during a military air show at the base in July.

Last week, Ottawa announced it would buy 18 new Super Hornets as a stop-gap measure for its fighter fleet, where most planes are over three decades old. The country is holding an open competition to buy dozens more jets in the next five years. Ottawa is also involved with the development of the troubled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The famously expensive plane, the only fifth generation fighter in existence, has been struggling with performance issues.

dj/rc (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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