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Canada Selects F-35 as its Next Fighter Jet


Canada’s effort to replace its aging CF-18 Hornet fleet has been a decades long process mired in politics and delays. The current iteration of this process was launched in 2017. FFCP seeks to acquire 88 advanced fighter jets for the RCAF through a competitive process that, according to Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), will ensure the requirements of the RCAF are met while ensuring best value for Canadians. PSPC has also stated that the procurement is the most significant investment in the RCAF in more than 30 years and is essential for protecting the safety and security of Canadians and meeting international obligations.

The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, along with the Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence, held a press conference to announce next steps in the competitive procurement process for the Future Fighter Capability Project. They were accompanied by representatives from the federal government.

During the press-conference it was announced that Canada has selected Lockheed Martin’s F-35 as its next fighter jet. It was announced that the decision was made unanimously by the procurement team.

The decision prompts questions regarding whether Canada should have moved ahead with its original deal a nearly a decade ago. Stephen Harper’s government committed to buying the F-35 without a competition in 2010, before concerns about the stealth fighter’s cost and capabilities came to light. In 2015 the Liberals decided not to buy the F-35, and instead launched an open competition to replace the Canada’s CF-18s.

Many defence experts were surprised when Boeing was kicked out of the competition in December, setting the stage for a final competition between the Gripen and the F-35.

During the question period following the announcement, members of the media questioned why and how this decision was made. They also questioned the efficacy and efficiency of Canada’s defence procurement process. There were no direct answers to these questions.

Staty tuned for more information on this developing story. 


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