Despite having promised last year that it will not purchase the F-35 Lightning II, the Liberal on June 24 made a $32.9 million payment to the United States office overseeing the development of the fighter aircraft.

The payment brings to more than $311 million the amount of money Canada has contributed so far to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, according to a report by the Canadian Press.

The JSF program was created to develop a fighter plane that would replace a wide range of existing fighter, strike and ground attack planes for the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, Turkey and other allies.

In Canada, the F-35 is one of the airplanes being considered as a replacement for the air force’s fleet of CF-18 fighters.


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The payment will keep Canada as one of the nine partners in the program and entitle Canada to a discount should it decide to purchase the single engine, multi-role fighter with stealth capability. The contribution also ensures that Canadian companies will have access to contracts associated with the manufacture of the airplane.

According to a Department of National Defence spokesperson said that since Canada’s initial F-35 contribution in 1997, Canadian businesses have secured $812 million in contracts associated with the aircraft developed by aerospace giant Lockheed Martin.

Canadian companies have secured US$812 million in contracts since Canada’s first F-35 payment in 1997.

During the election campaign last year, the Liberals promised that it will not purchase the multibillion-dollar F-35.

Last month, Lockheed Martin warned that if Canada decides not to buy the aircraft it will award future contracts to other countries.