The Canadian government on Thursday released the five eligible suppliers that will be allowed to submit proposals to replace the government’s aging CF-18 fighter fleet.

The government’s Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) listed Airbus Defense and Space with the UK, Boeing [BA], France’s Dassault, Lockheed Martin [LMT] and Sweden’s Saab. Suppliers were named by aircraft manufacturers and foreign government partners invited into formal engagement activities set to occur over the coming months.

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

The competition was first launched last December and will continue until spring 2019, when the government will invite the listed companies to submit proposals. The government expects to issue the award in 2021 or 2022 and the first new aircraft will be delivered by as early as 2025.

In December PSPC formally announced it was launching the competition to replace Canada’s 76 aging CF-18 Hornet fleet. In the interim, the government said it will acquire 18 Australian F-18s (Defense Daily, Dec. 12, 2017).

Canada had initially planned to acquire new F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets from Boeing as a stopgap measure, but canceled when Boeing started a trade challenge against Canada’s Bombardier in the U.S. over allegations the latter sold a commercial airliner at an artificially low price (Defense Daily, Dec. 8, 2017).

The U.S. Commerce Department initially proposed a 300 percent duty on all Bombardiers of this model, but the U.S. International Trade Commission found in favor of Bombardier that the sales did not hurt the U.S. airliner industry.

The PSPC said proposals for the new fighter “will be rigorously assessed on cost, technical requirements and economic benefits. The Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy will also be applied, requiring the winning supplier to make investments in Canada equal to the value of the contract.”

In the aftermath of the conflict with Boeing, the government highlighted bid evaluations will include an assessment of the bidders’ impact on Canada’s economic interest.

“Engagement with stakeholders and industry on this new criteria, as well as guidelines for its application as an ongoing procurement tool for major projects, are being conducted through separate consultations. Officials have already met with aerospace and defence industry associations and will continue to engage with various stakeholders on further refining this criteria over the coming months,” PSPC said

The expected bids include Dassault’s  Rafale, Lockheed Martin’s F-35, Boeing’s F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, Saab’s Gripen, and Airbus’ Eurofighter Typhoon.

Minister of Public Services and Procurement Carla Qualtrough said in a statement she was pleased with responses from governments and companies “that have the ability to meet Canada’s needs. Our government is confident this will result in a robust competition, providing good value to Canadians and the Canadian economy.”

Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, said the winning supplier group will make investments in Canada equal to the contract value due to a new national policy, called the Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy