09/30/2014 04:52 EDT | Updated 11/30/2014 05:59 EST

A quick look at the Royal Canadian Air Force's venerable CF-18 fighter jet

OTTAWA - The federal government intends to send as many as six CF-18 fighter-bombers to join the aerial campaign against ISIL. Here are some facts about the aircraft.

Origin: Designed in the 1970s by the McDonnell Douglas company as an aircraft for the United States navy and marine corps.

Delivery: Delivery of Canada's CF-18s began in 1984.

Cost: Canada's 138 CF-18s cost about $5.2 billion.

What is it? A twin-engine, single-seat aircraft able to attack ground targets as well as other aircraft.

Specs: Top speed Mach 1.8. Armament includes Sidewinder and Sparrow air-to-air missiles, various ground attack missiles, bombs and a 20-mm cannon.

Upgrades: Upgrade programs between 2001 and 2010 installed new avionics and other gear in 80 aircraft.

Combat: Canada sent 24 CF-18s to participate in the American-led Desert Shield and Desert Storm campaigns in 1990-91. In 1999, 18 CF-18s took part in the Kosovo campaign. In 2011, eight CF-18s flew missions over Libya with NATO.

Present fleet: The air force has 77 CF-18s still flying. The others were lost in crashes or have been retired.