Canada is reportedly planning to trash its plan to buy 18 new Boeing [BA) F-18 E/F Super Hornet fighter aircraft and will instead purchase a fleet of used Australian jets.

According to a Reuters report this week, the Canadian government will announce this decision next week after getting into a dispute with Boeing over a trade challenge.

F/A-18 Hornet Photo: Boeing
F/A-18 Hornet
Photo: Boeing

The company started a trade challenge against Canada’s Bombardier in the U.S. over allegations the company sold its commercial C-series jet airliners to Delta Airlines [DAL] at an artificially low price (called dumping), while receiving government subsidies.

U.S. Commerce Department officials proposed a 300 percent duty on all aircraft of that model imported into the U.S., but penalties would not be official until after a ruling on whether Bombardier hurt Boeing’s business.

The complaint by Boeing angered Canada’s government so much it put the new F-18 purchase process on hold and started looking into alternatives to replace its aging CF-18 Hornet fleet.

Now the government will reportedly buy used Australian F-18 Hornets rather than new Super Hornets.

Last year Canada’s government first said it wanted to buy 18 Boeing F-18 Super Hornets as an interim measure before launching a full competition for a permanent fleet to replace the CF-18s.

Canada has a fleet of 76 older F/A-18 Hornets that are reaching the end of their lifespans and the current Trudeau government has previously vowed to not procure the F-35 as a replacement (Defense Daily, Oct. 21, 2015).

The U.S. government in September approved a possible $5.2 billion foreign military sale (FMS) to Canada for 10 F/A-18E and eight F/A-18F aircraft along with weapons and associated equipment (Defense Daily, Sept. 14).

On Friday, Boeing released a statement noting they have seen the reports Canada intends to buy the Australian jets rather than the Super Hornets.

“The Boeing Company respects the Canadian government’s decision and applauds the government’s continued use of a two engine fighter solution,” it said.

The company said it would continue to look to find “productive ways to work together in the future” with Canada even though it “will not have the opportunity to grow our supply base, industrial partnerships and jobs in Canada the way we would if Canada purchased new Super Hornets.”

The company also highlighted a $4 billion annual economic impact on Canada.

Finally, Boeing said “we will continue to support all efforts to build an environment of free and fair competition marked by compliance with agreed upon rules.”