(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.

Just Posted

Documentary features Salmon Arm cinema

Out of the Interior shines a spotlight on the Salmar Classic

ALR review may not be open-minded

Past agriculture minister Norm Letnick skeptical of NDP approach

Technology Meet Up showcases full range of tech-industry careers in the Shuswap

Salmon Arm Economic Development Society spotlights high-tech frontrunners

Young Salmon Arm athletes gear up for the 2018 BC Winter Games

20 competitors across five events vying for the podium in Kamloops

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Okanagan filmmaker to screen ice-climbing documentary

Penticton’s Dave Mai debuted his ice climbing film in Vancouver last week

Canucks blow three goal lead, lose to Avalanche in overtime

Vancouver struggled on the penalty kill, as Colorado scored all five goals on the powerplay

Letter: BC forest practices need to change

Letter writer says forestry is in need of an overhaul

Widow of avalanche victim sues Golden lodge operator

A woman from Alberta is suing guides, their mountain guide association and the lodge operator for negligence

BC BUDGET: NDP hope to nix court delays with $15 million cash influx

Union says funding could stop sheriffs from leaving for higher paid jobs

Thompson, Chilcotin Steelhead Trout in danger of extinction

‘Once it’s gone, it’s not coming back’ says longtime Steelhead advocate Steve Rice.

Cattlemen urge B.C. to prevent erosion caused during 2017 wildfire season

Other concerns are fencing restoration and repair, and a lack of feed for cattle.

Most Read