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

Crime, traffic violations in Delta stayed low through second quarter of 2020

Persons offences (e.g. assault, robbery), which had been increasing since 2018, were down 22 per cent

Illegal suite a concern for Cloverdale man

Despite a City-issued stop-work order, construction continues

Politicians want Surrey’s Civic Distinction Awards done ‘virtually,’ not postponed

City staff recommended they be put off to the fall of 2021 because of the pandemic

Two new recycling trucks on the way for White Rock

Council approves higher cost to reduce operations yard problems

Surrey Mounties need help to find missing woman

Hasheena Mundie, 25, was last seen at about 4:20 pm on August 4, in the 16700-block of 61 Avenue

‘Do our lives count for less?’: COVID-19 exposes cracks in disability aid

In July, Parliament approved a $600 payment for people with disabilities facing additional expenses during COVID-19

Agreement between province, BC Hydro, First Nation, ends legal fight over Site C

B.C. will work to improve land management and restore traditional place names in areas of cultural significance

BREAKING: Reported stabbing in Harrison Hot Springs

Police chase ran through Agassiz, witnesses say

VIDEO: B.C. conservation officers free not-so-wily coyote with head stuck in jar

Poor pup was found with a glass jar stuck on its head in Maple Ridge

Fraser Valley Bandits clinch first round bye with win

Bandits defeat Guelph 84-70, advance to the CEBL semifinals on Saturday

B.C. doctors, dentists call on province for mandatory mask rule

Open letter says masks should be worn in indoor public spaces, public transportation or in crowds

Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

Zoo has been trying to send pandas back to China since May

Maple Ridge firefighting camp empowers young women

Camp Ignite to take place at Justice Institute on Sunday, Aug. 9

Most Read