Lockheed Martin [LMT] is bidding its F-35 fighter for the Royal Canadian Air Force Future Fighter competition to replace 76 Boeing [BA] CF-18s, according to a July 30 submission to Canada’s Request for Proposals (RFP) in July last year.
Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin’s executive vice president of the F-35 program, said in a statement that “Canada has been a valued partner since the inception of the Joint Strike Fighter competition and that “Canadian industry plays an integral role in the global F-35 supply chain and has gained significant technical expertise over the past 15-plus year involvement in the F-35 production.”
“The 5th Generation F-35 would transform the Royal Canadian Air Force fleet and deliver the capabilities necessary to safeguard Canadian skies,” he said. “The F-35’s unique mix of stealth and sensor technology will enable the Royal Canadian Air Force to modernize their contribution to NORAD operations, ensure Arctic sovereignty and meet increasingly sophisticated global threats.”
Lockheed Martin said that the F-35 would support an estimated 150,000 jobs in Canada. “The F-35 program connects Canadian industry to a global supply chain supporting a growing fleet that will deliver more than 3,200 aircraft and delivers sustainment well past 2060,” according to Lockheed Martin.
In July last year, the Canadian government sent the RFP to Lockheed Martin and other companies, including Sweden’s Saab, offering the Gripen E; Airbus, offering the Eurofighter Typhoon; and Boeing [BA], bidding the F/A-18 Super Hornet.
Both American companies in the competition, Lockheed Martin and Boeing, have had past scrapes with Canada related to the competition.
The previous Canadian government planned to buy F-35s as the new aircraft, but during his election campaign in 2015, Justin Trudeau promised not to buy the aircraft. However, since then, Trudeau has said his government would hold an open competition.
Canada had planned to buy 18 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets worth $5.2 billion as an interim measure before the full CF-18 replacement competition (Defense Daily, Sept. 14, 2017).
However, in late 2017 the Canadian government revealed a plan to acquire 18 used Australian F-18 Hornets in the interim after getting into a trade dispute with the U.S. (Defense Daily, Dec. 12, 2017).
In the dispute Boeing began a trade challenge against Canada’s Bombardier in the U.S. over allegations it sold a commercial airliner at an artificially low price. In response, the Canadian government passed over the interim Super Hornets in favor of the older Australian models. (Defense Daily, Dec. 8, 2017).
The U.S. International Trade Commission eventually found in favor of Bombardier, preventing any U.S. duties on Bombardiers, as first proposed.