Confirming the April 2022 Lockheed Martin contract award, the Government of Canada finalizes negotiations with the manufacturer for 88 F-35 Lightning IIs. The aircraft, to be delivered from 2026, will replace the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet.
Canada hopes to have a state-of-the-art air defense capability between 2032 and 2034 when all F-35s are expected to be in service. As per press reports, the talks started late. Allegations of irregularities committed by Saab during the same bidding process cannot be ruled out.
On 28 September, Saab Canada CEO Simon Carroll told the House of Commons that Canadian officials were discussing issues with Lockheed Martin and the United States during the tender. “Recent government statements have indicated that Canada is negotiating with our competitor on costs, delivery schedules and economic benefits”tells.
From their point of view, any type of negotiation is acceptable as it is part of each bidder’s offer. If there are problems, deadlines, costs, these arise and are part of the competition of the process itself. In this way, the customer decides who gives the best offer as per their requirements and duration.
As a result of late negotiations, Canada is unable to close the contract with Lockheed Martin before the end of 2022 as expected. Similarly, the delivery initially considered for 2025 is delayed by one year, unless there is a new force majeure event.
With a slight new upgrade and a 180º turn
Since 2010, Canada has selected the F-35 to replace the F/A-18 Hornet. Initially, 65 units are purchased, but delays and increased costs of the program, in which the country itself participates through various Canadian companies, forced Justin Trudeau’s decision in 2015 to cancel it. On that occasion, he confirms that his government will never buy the plane.
In search of immediate alternatives, the Government of Canada opens a tender for the purchase of a new front-line fighter aircraft. Boeing with the F/A-18 Super Hornet, Dassault Aviation with the Rafale, Saab with the Gripen NG. In addition, the Eurofighter Typhoon was added, although this partnership was not free from controversy as Airbus and Dassault withdrew from the competition with allegations that Canada favored American manufacturers.
In April 2015, the Trudeau government’s decision was leaked saying that Lockheed Martin would be selected with its F-35 proposal. In 2022, after years of uncertainty, the choice of aircraft allowing Canada to make a technological leap in air defense has been made official.
Cover Photo – Lockheed Martin