In our 2015 Campaign we committed to an open and transparent competition to replace our fleet of CF-18 fighter aircraft.
We are now in a position to carry out this commitment, and on December 12, 2017, the Government of Canada launched the replacement competition.
In this process, relative to the previous government’s plan to purchase 65 F-35 stealth-capbable fighters, we will purchase 88 advanced aircraft and reduce the procurement costs, selecting from the many, lower-priced options that better match Canada’s defence needs.
The Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy will be applied to this procurement. The objective of the policy is to maximize opportunities for Canadian companies, support innovation through research and development, and grow export opportunities from Canada.
The competition and delivery process takes a long time, however — Years: “A contract award is anticipated in 2022 and the first replacement aircraft delivered in 2025.”
In the interrim we must ensure that our armed forces have the equipment they need to continue to deliver their missions, and be able fully to meet our domestic, NATO, NORAD, UN, and other international obligations.
To tide us over we have received a formal offer for sale of F-18 Hornets from the government of Australia, and intend to pursue it; these aircraft are the same age, era and technology as our existing CF-18s and will fit easily into our current fleet, and its training, parts, and maintainance regimes.