Liberals to consult jet companies anew on CF-18 replacement
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said the government will conduct another round of consultation with defence industry companies regarding its search for a replacement to Air Force’s fleet of CF-18 fighter planes.
Sajjan told industry representatives that only half of the Air Force’s CF-18 fleet can be mobilized at any given time, according to a report by the Canadian Press.
The defence chief also warned that currently, Canada cannot meet its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and North American defence commitments with the existing fighter fleet of the Air Force.
Industry representatives and the previous Conservative government held a round of consultation meetings several years ago.
Results of the meetings favoured Lockheed Martin’s fifth-generation F-35 stealth aircraft.
During last year’s election campaign, the Liberals promised they would not purchase the F-35.
However, since coming to power, the Liberals had shifted their position. In December, Sajjan said the F-35 will not be cut off from any upcoming competition for replacements for Canada’s aging CF-18 jets.