The Canadian Air Force, more than 40 years in Germany

To meet NATO’s air defense commitments during the Cold War, No. 1 Air Division RCAF was established in Europe in the early 1950’s. No less than 12 Squadrons (equipped with F-86 Sabre’s and the CF-100 “Canuck”) were stationed on 4 bases in France and Germany. In 1962, the eight Sabre squadrons were re-equipped with CF-104 Starfighters, and the four CF-100 squadrons were disbanded. After French withdrawal from NATO and internal reorganizations the Canadian Forces only had two bases left: RCAF station Lahr and RCAF station Baden-Sölingen.

CF-104 Starfighter
In 1970, Canada’s NATO contingent was further reduced to three squadrons, and 1 Canadian Air Group replaced 1 Canadian Air Division. All three squadrons (421, 439 and 441) were stationed at RCAF station Baden-Sölingen in the Black Forest region in Germany. For more than a decade the CF-104s were the backbone of the Royal Canadian Air Force in Europe.

CF-18 Hornets
In 1982, the Canadian government purchased 125 McDonnell-Douglas CF-18 Hornets to replace the obsolescent CF-101 Voodoos and CF-104 Starfighters. 421 Squadron and 439 Squadron at Baden-Sölingen saw their CF-104s being replaced by CF-18s in 1985. In 1986, 441st Fighter Squadron was disbanded and replaced by the 409th squadron. The Hornets remained on Baden-Sölingen until the early 90´s . With the end of the Cold War, all three squadrons were disbanded and the aircraft and personnel went home to Canada. RCAF station Baden-Sölingen was officially closed on March 31 1993.