Fighter aircraft | Ottawa finalizes F-35 contract

(Ottawa) Canada has reached an agreement with the United States government and Lockheed Martin/Pratt & Whitney to purchase 88 F-35 stealth aircraft, with the first four to be delivered in 2026.

Posted at 10:04 a.m.

Updated at 2:36 p.m.

The cost of acquiring these fighter jets to replace the aging CF-18 fleet is estimated at some $19 billion – the estimated value per aircraft is $85 million – and $70 billion over a life cycle that is expected to reach some 30 years.

This amount includes related equipment and materials, maintenance services and the establishment of a training program. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2026, and the fleet is expected to reach full operational capability between 2032 and 2034, according to the Canadian government.

The acquisition of these fighters, for which several allies of Canada have also opted, takes on an even more special significance in the context of the current geopolitical upheavals, indicated the Minister of National Defense, Anita Anand, in a virtual press conference on Monday.


Anita Anand

“It’s the right plane arriving at the right time, at the best price for Canadians,” she said, praising the “modern, reliable and agile” nature of the planes that will allow Canada to “meet its obligations” domestically and internationally, as a member of NATO and NORAD.

The military bases in Bagotville, Quebec, and Cold Lake, Alberta, will be adapted accordingly. The acquisition and initial support of the F-35 fighters has the potential to support nearly 3,300 jobs per year for Canadian industry over a 25-year period, directly and indirectly, the government says.

End of a saga

This announcement marks the end of a buying process that was set in motion under the former government of Stephen Harper, which Justin Trudeau’s Liberals had promised to relegate to oblivion in 2015, before finally changing their guns. ‘shoulder.

CF-35 costs soared while the project was in limbo – a priori, 65 fighters should have cost around $25 billion, according to a 2012 auditor general’s report. additional hundreds of millions of dollars to keep its fleet of CF-18s in the air.

Minister Anand, however, assured that the “very complex” acquisition process had been competitive, and she pleaded that the years that had passed had also allowed the devices to evolve and “become more efficient”.

No financial penalty is provided for in the event of late deliveries. “Canada purchases devices from an established production line. We have confidence in this vendor given the program’s track record of delivery,” said Minister Anand.

Opposition salutes

Too late, too expensive, too opaque: the opposition parties attacked the Liberal government in unison on Monday.

“Justin Trudeau said he would NEVER buy the F-35. He then wasted years and taxpayers’ money buying rusty Australian CF-18s, only to find that the Conservatives’ plan was the right one all along,” said Conservative MP James Bezan.

In the New Democratic Party, MP Randall Garrison says “the news today suggests that the government is not interested in getting the best value possible and that it is placing the brunt of its bad decisions”.

His Bloc colleague Christine Normandin expressed concerns about possible cost overruns, when “we know that it is quite common”. She also finds that the 425 million annual economic spinoffs that the government is dangling are not up to par.

A deterrent force

Maryland-based supplier welcomed Ottawa’s “honor” by setting its sights on its devices, Mike Schmidt, US Air Force Lt. Gen. and program chief of the office, said in a statement. spouse of the F-35.

“With its power projection, the F-35 is at the forefront of deterrence. Its forward presence will continue to ensure that potential adversaries choose the path of diplomacy over that of armed conflict.

Currently, there are more than 890 of these devices in service at 26 bases around the world, according to the company.

Learn more

  • Mach 1,6 (550 m/s)
    Maximum speed of F-35 stealth aircraft.


    2200 km
    Ability to fly non-stop F-35s.


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