USAAF roundel Canadian Military Aircraft
Serial Numbers
RCAF controlled, US serials

USAAF rodunel

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The aircraft described here were owned, leased or rented by a branch of the Canadian military, but retained their US serial numbers.  These aircraft can be loosely broken into the main categories shown below.  In addition, a number of US military aircraft were loaned to the Canadian military for training, evaluation, and other purposes without having ownership pass to Canada.  These are listed on a separate web page.  The ex-USN aircraft that retained their US serial numbers while owned by the RCN are listed on my RCN web pages.

The Second World War and Immediately After
The first US military serial number to actually be on the RCAF books appears to be a PT-27 Kaydet,  temporarily passed to the RCAF to allow pilot's notes to be prepared for the RAF funded Kaydets that were coming for the BCATP.  This aircraft  was on the books from March to June 1942, the RAF serialized Kaydets also began to arrive in March 1942.


The next US serial numbers to appear on the Canadian books were nine P-40K-1s, purchased from the USAAF in Alaska in November 1942.  The RCAF had started to concentrate its few fighters on the west coast after Pearl Harbor, and this was accelerated after the Japanese landings in Alaska in mid 1942.  The RCAF spent most of the war fighting with the US and UK governments for larger allocations of warplanes for the Home War Establishment, and used every possible means to supplement the few aircraft they received.  By September 1942 several RCAF squadrons were in Alaska, under US command.  No. 111 (F) Squadron was using these US aircraft by September 1942, and the Canadian government was able to purchase them for cash.  The nine P-40s listed here only carried US serials while with the  RCAF, a few later purchases in Alaska received RCAF serials in the 850 and 860 series.


Two Schweizer TG-3A training gliders were briefly on the Canadian books immediately after the end of the Second World War, ending up with the RCN.  I haven't found any specific information on their use, but they may have been obtained as part of the general RCN build up in pilot training capacity at this time, which saw Tiger Moths, Harvards, and Ansons pass to the RCN.

A number of Waco gliders were loaned to the RCAF for use in Operation Musk Ox in 1946, in addition to the US operated gliders.  I have only one serial number positively identified, and it is in the lists below.

The Cold War Trainers and a Pattern Aircraft
When the Canadian military began to build up in the early 1950s to undertake NATO assignments and to beef up North American air defence, the RCAF turned to the US for short term aid.  A number of USAF training aircraft were taken on strength temporarily, including 100 Texans, 6 Mitchell radar trainers, and 10 T-33s.  The Texans were used briefly in 1951 to 1953, and most appear to have remained in full USAF markings while in Canada.  The Mitchells and T-Birds received RCAF markings, but retained USAF serial numbers.  Note that a number of other Mitchells, US built Harvards, and T-Birds permanently retained in Canada received RCAF serial numbers, and are listed on other pages under those serials.

One US built F-86 arrived in Canada in 1951, for use as an engine test bed by Canadair and Orenda as they tooled up for their large scale production of Mk. 5 and 6 Sabres.  This aircraft was on the RCAF books from 1951 to late 1953, retaining its USAF serial number.

Canada Becomes A Nuclear Power - sort of
Many books have been written, and will continue to be written, on the Avro Arrow program.  I will leave it to others to discuss the political, military and corporate blunders (on both sides of the border) of this 1950s prequel to Dumb and Dumber.  For the purposes of this web site, we will only focus on two aeronumeroligically interesting  byproducts of this whole mess.

When the Progressive Conservative government of the day canceled the Arrow, they claimed that Canadian air defence would be more effectively and cheaply accomplished with Boeing BOMARC missiles.  At least 56 were delivered to Canada in the early 1960s, to bases in Quebec and Ontario.  The 25 known serial numbers are listed here.  The PC government either failed to notice, or failed to inform Canadians, that these missiles were useless without nuclear warheads, and a huge political debate raged in Canada while the missiles sat unarmed in their silos for several months.  Eventually US nuclear devices arrived, along with their heavily armed USAF keepers, and Canada was a nuclear power, sort of, until the missiles were returned to the US in 1972.  I believe these were the first nuclear weapons assigned to the Canadian military, pre-dating the CF-104 weapons in Europe and the nuclear depth charges that may or may not have been assigned to Maritime Air Command.

Another byproduct of the Arrow affair was the loan on a single B-47 to Canada, for in flight testing of the Arrow's engine.  This aircraft was on the RCAF books from 1956 to 1959, although it was operated mostly by Avro Canada and Orenda crews.  It appears on RCAF records under its full USAF serial, and it is most likely that the "X059" later marked on the aircraft was more of a unit marking, rather than a full serial.

Some Recent Aircraft
A small number of US airframes and major components have been received by the Canadian Forces in the last few decades, for use as structural test articles or training aids.  The list below does not include the Bell 206/Kiowa mystery ship currently at Camp Borden, which is listed in these web pages under its fake CH-136 serial.  I'm not sure if this is actually a true Kiowa or a civil Bell 206, and would welcome a picture of the serial plate if anybody has one.


The table below will connect you to detailed listings of these aircraft, in the various categories discussed above.  As always, I welcome your corrections and additions.  Contact me using the link at the bottom of this page.

Brief list
Detailed lists
Category & typical aircraft

All US serials

158 records
updated 13 January 2009

13 records
updated 24 March 2009
The Second World War: PT-27, P-40K, TG-3A, CG-4A
59 records
updated 10 June 2009
The Cold War Trainers - Part One: Texans
57 records
updated 8 October 2009
The Cold War Trainers - Part Two: Texans, Mitchells, T-Birds
37 records

updated 3 March 2013
Cold War Operational Aircraft: Waco glider, F-86, BOMARC and B-47
Some recent aircraft: P-3, F/A-18, C-130


This data has come from a variety of sources, and may contain all sorts of errors. In the future, I will add a complete list of references. For now, some recent Internet references can be found at the links below.  I would welcome any corrections or additions you may have. Contact me using the link below.

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© 2009, 2010, 2013 by R. W. R. Walker      All rights reserved under the copyright laws.
This is an amateur site - please don't rely on any of this data for anything important!
Created 10 January 2009. Updated 3 March 2013.