Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Feds planning to push back delivery date for new fighter jets

Feds planning to push back delivery date for new fighter jets

Word of the likely delay comes with the government moving ahead with the purchase of used fighter jets from Australia as a temporary stopgap alongside its existing CF-18s, rather than the original plan of buying brand new Super Hornets from US aerospace giant Boeing Co.

Government and industry sources said the Australia deal will be announced as early as next week, with the Royal Canadian Air Force needing 28 to 30 used F/A-18 fighter jets to meet its worldwide commitments.

The decision comes after the U.S. Commerce Department levied a 300 percent tariff on each Bombardier C Series jet delivered to the U.S., following accusations from Boeing that the Canadian industrial giant was receiving unfair government subsidies.

Featured image courtesy of Wikipedia. RCAF now operates an ageing fleet of CF-18 fighters, which is due for replacement sometime in the next decade.

The offices of Public Works Minister Carla Qualtrough and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, who share responsibility for military procurement in Canada, both declined to comment. "With Canada, it was about $17 billion", the president said Tuesday in a meeting with Senate Republicans, according to Canadian news site Global News. "It would be a deeply unfortunate outcome", he said.

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Retired military officers and defence experts alike say a competition, which latest estimates say would be worth up to $19 billion, could be launched right away, and urged the Liberals to take that step, rather than waiting several more years.

Australia's F-18s are nearly certain to be cheaper than Super Hornets, and easier to incorporate into the existing fleet, since they are nearly identical to Canada's own CF-18s.

In response, the Commerce Department in September imposed a almost 220-percent preliminary tariff on the C-series, but a final decision is not until 2018. At the time, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his top ministers said Ottawa would not do business with Boeing as long as it was engaged in a dispute with Bombardier.

At a conference in Boston in November, Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare said: "Boeing is underestimating what they are tackling". "Unfortunately, I think they're taking advantage of a [political] context that's favourable to them". It has been the standard line in Ottawa for months that Boeing, having failed to act as a trusted or valued partner, has effectively been shut out of any new federal contracts.

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