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Canadian aerospace firm hopes F-35 program is still alive

During his election campaign, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised that the Liberals will not okay the purchase of the Lockheed Martin’s F-35 multi-role stealth fighter jet.

The former Conservative government’s 2010 plan to snap up 65 units of the radar-evading warplanes for $16 billion over a period of 20 years was just too expensive. After the auditor general and parliamentary budget officer figured in operations and sustainable costs it was estimated that the price of ownership over 42 years would be $44.6 billion.

The head of Quebec-based aerospace firm Heroux-Devtek, however, is hoping that the program to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s with the F-35 has not been shot down permanently.

“It’s clear our CF-18s are not in good shape and they cannot last forever,” said Gilles Labbe, CEO of Heroux-Devtek, in a recent interview with the Canadian Press.

He said the F-35 program is “a very important program” for the Canadian industry.

Heroux-Devtek specializes in the design, manufacture, testing and repair of aircraft landing gear and actuation systems. The company claims to be the third largest landing gear company in the world.

The Quebec-based firm is also involved in the design and engineering of the F-35 landing gear system.

A 2013 report projected that business in Canada could acquire as much as $9.9 billion in contract to build and maintain parts for the F-35.

Lebbe’s company is doing very well this year.

The company beat analyst expectation when its net income doubled to $6 million during this quarter due to a 12 per cent increase in revenues.

Heroux-Devtek reported sales of $94.5 million this year up from $84.09 million in 2014 and it expects to ramp up delivery of landing gear content for the Boing 777 and 777x beginning 2017.

Author: Nestor Arellano

Nestor Arellano is editor of Vanguard Magazine. Nestor is a seasoned journalist who has written extensively on defence and military industry issues as well as technology and business developments. He is also associate editor of Vanguard's sister publication, IT in Canada.

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1 Comment

  1. Of course the F-35 is still on the table. Because of the new PM’s comments we can, hoever, expect that no decision will be forthcoming during his tenure.

    If the F-35 is left out of a “fair and open selection” it would foolish to expect that Lockheed Martin would not file a lawsuit, which is their right and should be demanded by Canadians (after all it’s not fair or open when selective and closed), which would of course waste 2 years of the DND’s and the CAF’s time pushing their bid into the competition. All becasue of the PM’s comments on the F-35.

    After that, any selection that isn’t the F-35 would have a high likelyhood ofseeing a second lawsuit claiming that the Liberal government is biased and did not make the best selection. After that lawsuit is won by Lockheed (again becasue ayoung PM made bold claims not based on facts), be prepared for the purchase to be reviewed at least once (if not more than that) prior to a decision being made… by the next government.

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