(Canadian Press photo)

New fighter-jet competition to have national ‘economic interest’ requirement

Trudeau government wants to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s with 88 new fighters by as early as 2025

The Trudeau government is kicking off its latest bid to replace its aging fleet of fighter jets — and adding a new requirement to the procurement process by assessing a company’s overall impact on the Canadian economy.

The government is launching a full competition to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s with 88 new fighters by as early as 2025, a move that comes in the midst of an ongoing trade dispute with U.S. aerospace giant Boeing.

“Applications will be rigorously assessed on cost, technical requirements and economic benefit,” Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough told a news conference Tuesday.

“Our government feels it is important to maximize economic impacts; as such, the evaluation of bids will also include an assessment of bidders on Canada’s economic interests. This new assessment is an incentive for bidders to contribute positively to Canada’s economy.

“Bidders responsible for harming Canada’s economic interests will be at a distinct disadvantage compared to bidders who aren’t engaged in detrimental behaviour.”

READ: Canada’s military to get $14B over the next decade

Boeing has been eager to submit its Super Hornet to compete for the contract, which is valued at up to $19 billion and expected to start delivering jets in 2025. But the new stipulation could well have an impact on Boeing if its trade dispute with Canadian rival Bombardier is still alive and ends up being deemed harmful to Canada’s economic interests.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said the government settled on the number of 88 fighters even though the previous Conservative government had only planned to buy 65 new planes, an effort that never got off the ground.

“After extensive consultations and careful analysis as part of the defence policy review, it was clear that a full fleet of 88 planes are required to fully meet our Norad and NATO obligations simultaneously,” he said.

“Our government will not risk-manage our national defence commitments.”

The Liberals are also officially abandoning a plan to buy 18 Super Hornets to temporarily boost Canada’s CF-18 fleet, saying they plan instead to buy 18 second-hand fighter jets from Australia.

“We have received an offer for sale of F-18 aircraft from the government of Australia, which we intend to pursue, and we have received an offer of Super Hornets from the U.S. government, which we intend to let expire,” Qualtrough said.

Officials briefing reporters on background say that while details are still being worked out, the used Australian jets will cost significantly less than Super Hornets and can be put into action two years faster.

Since Canada already flies a version of the same fighter jet, “the supply chain and maintenance lines required to support these aircraft are already in place,” Sajjan said.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COLUMN: COVID-19 statistics are the stories of people

This pandemic is ultimately about people, not just about numbers

Morning Start: One Year on Uranus Is 84 Years on Earth

Your morning start for Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020

Okanagan College expands ‘Wellness Wednesdays’ to all students this fall

Wellness Wednesday workshops are designed to be psycho-educational

Veintimilla to run as Liberal candidate

The Oliver councillor will run for MLA of the Boundary-Similkameen riding

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

EDITORIAL: Clearing the smoke

Wildfires have resulted in heavy smoke and poor air quality

Kelowna man’s child porn collection ‘traversed the spectrum of depravity,’ court hears

Terry Krock was caught in possession of between 7,000 and 12,000 child porn files

COVID-19 exposure at Merritt pub

The exposure happened on Sept. 19 at the pub of the Coldwater Hotel

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

UPDATE: Person safely pulled from Vernon creek culvert

First responders from multiple agencies assist in getting individual out of the creek

Police watchdog investigating after man injured in Penticton RCMP cells

Man suffers serious injuries after being lodged into cells at the detachment

Four more cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 31 active cases in isolation in the health region

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

Most Read