The Canadian Government very recently reached another milestone in the competitive process to purchase 88 advanced fighter jets for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). The potential investment will ensure the requirements of the RCAF are met while simultaneously providing value for Canadian by generating high-value jobs as well as further growth for the Canadian aerospace and defence sector for decades to come.

“It is critical that current and future Royal Canadian Air Force pilots have the most advanced equipment available to ensure they can deliver on the important work that we ask of them. This procurement project for the RCAF – the largest in over three decades – will help ensure Canada can continue to defend North America, enhance our Arctic sovereignty, and meet our NATO and NORAD obligations in the face of current and emerging threats. Canadians can be confident that this competitive process will deliver the best results for our Canadian Armed Forces for decades to come,” explained the Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence.

This announcement comes following a very rigorous evaluation of proposals. Canada will now enter the finalization phase of the procurement process. The top-ranked bidder is the United States (US) government and Lockheed Martin with their product, the F-35 fighter jet. Should all go successfully, this procurement will represent the most significant investment in the RCAF in more than 30 years. The jets are considered essential for protecting the safety and security of Canadians and will serve to enhance Canada’s Arctic sovereignty. The fighters will also ensure Canada is equipped to better defend North America and will help make sure we continue to meet our NATO and NORAD obligations well into the future.

“This announcement marks another important milestone in Canada’s competitive process to purchase modern fighter jets for the Royal Canadian Air Force,” celebrated the Honourable Filomena Tassi
Minister of Public Services and Procurement. “Canadians take great pride in their Armed Forces, and it is important to make sure that they have what they need to keep Canada safe and secure.”

This news marks a major milestone in the open, fair, and competitive process. The multi-step assessment process considered a wide range of factors, including:

  • capabilities
  • cost
  • economic benefits and impacts

Canada evaluated these aircraft against typical scenarios familiar to NATO and NORAD allies, recognizing that these fighter jets must effectively serve the RCAF and Canadians for decades to come. The considered scenarios were further tailored to meet many very specific needs of the RCAF, including Canada’s unique northern geography. Canada is confident that this competitive process will deliver the best results for the Canadian Armed Forces and for all Canadians.

“We are honoured the Government of Canada selected the F-35 to move into the Finalization Phase of the competitive process, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Canadian industry to deliver and sustain the F-35 for the Royal Canadian Air Force. The F-35 will help strengthen defence of the Canadian arctic and North American security,” said Lorraine Ben, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin Canada. “The F-35 is the most advanced, most survivable, best value fighter to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 fleet. As a cornerstone for interoperability with NORAD and NATO, the F-35 will strengthen Canada’s operational capability with our allies. The F-35 gives pilots the critical advantage against any adversary, enabling them to execute their mission and come home safe.”

In preparation for the delivery of these future fighters, the Canadian government has been concurrently preparing 2 main operating bases, 4 Wing Cold Lake and 3 Wing Bagotville. Contracts to undertake infrastructure upgrades to these facilities have been awarded. National Defence announced a $9.2-million contract to EllisDon in Edmonton on August 27, 2020, for the design of a new fighter jet facility at 4 Wing Cold Lake. National Defence also announced a $12.1-million contract to EllisDon-EBC Inc. Joint Venture of Ottawa on October 2, 2020, for the design of a new fighter jet facility at 3 Wing Bagotville. The new and upgraded infrastructure will support the long-term maintenance and operation of the new aircraft and serves to bring Canada another step closer to delivering the infrastructure our aviators need for the future.

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry said, “Canada’s aerospace sector is a world leader and is the top research and development spender among all manufacturing industries. This is one of the largest aerospace procurements in decades, and the resulting economic benefits will help sustain and grow this key industry’s global leadership position.”

The Government of Canada is aiming for the delivery of aircraft as early as 2025.