Canada announced on Tuesday that it will purchase 18 used Australian fighter jets as a temporary measure until purchasing 88 new warplanes by 2022 via an open bid process, with the first aircraft of a new fleet expected by 2025.
A cost for the Australian F-18 warplanes will be released once negotiations are complete between Ottawa and Canberra.
Canada plans to launch an open bidding competition by 2019 or 2020 for any company to submit proposals to create an “advanced fleet” for the air force that would replace all the current and ageing CF-18’s.
Economic development minister Navdeep Bains made clear that any procurement plan would be carried out with a partner that would not bring harm to the Canadian economy.
“We will stand up for Canada,” Bains said, amid a trade conflict between Canadian Bombardier aerospace company and its U.S. competition Boeing.
But Minister of Defence Harjit Singh Sajjan said that Boeing could still submit a proposal when the time came, despite the tensions.
It is unclear at this point what companies, and really what warplanes, will be submitting their pitches for Ottawa to approve.
The ruling Liberal Party made clear during the 2015 election that they would not buy Lockheed Martin’s cutting edge F-35’s.
The Australian fighter jet negotiation with Canberra will still need the approval of the United States as they were the original manufacturer, but officials say that they expect the F-18’s to arrive in Canada by January 2019.
More details to follow. Image 1 of F/A-18 Australian fighter from Wikimedia Commons.