The federal government has made another multimillion-dollar investment into the development of the F-35 stealth fighter despite no guarantee it will buy the aircraft. An F-35A Lightning II fighter jet practises for an air show appearance in Ottawa, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Canada invests another US$70M in F-35 development despite no commitment to buy

The government says Canadian companies have also secured US$1.8 billion in work related to the stealth fighter

The federal government has made another multimillion-dollar investment into the development of the F-35 stealth fighter jet, even as it weighs a new extension to the $19-billion competition to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s.

Canada made the annual F-35 payment to the U.S. military last week, spending US$70.1 million to remain one of nine partner countries in the fighter-jet project. Each partner is required to cover a portion of the plane’s multibillion-dollar development costs to stay at the table.

Staying in the program has advantages, as partners get a discount when purchasing the jets and compete for billions of dollars in contracts associated with building and maintaining them. The F-35 is being built by U.S. defence giant Lockheed Martin.

While the new payment brings Canada’s total investment in the F-35 to US$541.3 million since 1997, the government says Canadian companies have also secured US$1.8 billion in work related to the stealth fighter.

“This participation provides Canadian industry with contract opportunities that are only available to program participants,” Defence Department spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier said in an email.

“Our membership will also allow us preferential pricing and sequencing in the build schedule should the F-35 aircraft be successful in the current future fighter capability program.”

Canada actually started to shoulder more of the development costs last year. That is because the Liberal government increased the number of new fighter jets that Canada plans to buy to 88 from 65, even though it has not committed to buying the F-35.

News of the payment comes as the federal procurement department confirmed it was considering another extension to the $19-billion competition to replace Canada’s CF-18s. The F-35 is one of three planes in running along with Boeing’s Super Hornet and the Saab Gripen.

The extension was recently requested by one of the three fighter-jet makers. Public Services and Procurement Canada did not confirm which company asked for the extension, but Boeing had previously left the door open to a request because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We can confirm that we are currently evaluating a request from industry to extend the deadline for preliminary proposals,” Public Services and Procurement Canada spokeswoman Michele LaRose said in an emailed statement.

“We remain committed to providing members of the Royal Canadian Air Force with the fighter aircraft they need to do their jobs, and ensuring the best possible value for Canadians.”

The three companies were originally supposed to submit their bids at the end of March, but that was pushed back to June 30 following a request by Saab. Despite the pandemic, the federal procurement department insisted last month that it still expected companies to meet that deadline.

ALSO READ: Six Canadian Forces members killed in helicopter crash honoured at ceremony

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CanadaMilitary

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

Just Posted

Going above and beyond the call of duty

“She does it out of the goodness of her heart … she loves seeing the results.”

Tourism Wells Gray looks at silver linings

Domestic tourism and pipeline workers may compensate for some of the lost tourism dollars this year

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Back in Time

Historical Perspective

B.C. drive-in theatre appeals COVID-19 concession rules, 50-car limit

With 50 cars and the removal of concession sales, drive-in owner says theatre might have to close

COVID-19: B.C. grants aim to stabilize sexual assault recovery programs

$10 million fund not yet ready to take applications

B.C. mom’s drug-pricing petition on behalf of son garners thousands of signatures

Petition geared to gaining access to new medicines drew support of Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl

‘Paralyzed by fear’: B.C. woman details anxiety, grief at Italian relief hospital

Sheila Vicic spent two months in Italy as the country grappled with COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry given new name in B.C. First Nation ceremony: ‘one who is calm among us’

The provincial health officer was honoured in a May 22 ceremony at elementary school in Hazelton

CAMH survey looks at binge-drinking, financial anxiety during COVID

Alcohol may be used as a coping mechanism for those whose careers may have been sidelined due to the pandemic

Half of Canadians say governments are hiding something about COVID-19: poll

More than a third of people believe the virus was created in a lab

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

Most Read