Canada Buys 16 US F-35 Stealth Fighters For $5.14 Billion, SAAB Is Surprised And Disappointed

Canada Buys 16 US F-35 Stealth Fighters For $5.14 Billion, Saab Is Surprised And Disappointed
Canada Buys 16 US F-35 Stealth Fighters For $5.14 Billion

- The Canadian government has approved funding to purchase the first batch of Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fifth-generation stealth fighter jets from the United States. The Canadian Treasury Board gave the green light to the Department of National Defense to spend $5.14 billion for 16 F-35 aircraft, as reported by Aero Time.

The news about this funding decision surprised SAAB, as reported by CTV on December 20, 2022. Because, Saab felt that what was being offered met Canadian requirements. "Given that Saab remains eligible to be selected in the formal procurement process, we are surprised by today's media reports," said Saab Canada spokesperson Sierra Fullerton.

It added that SAAB was committed to an offer to the Canadian government, which was significantly less than the $19 billion budgeted for the full 88 aircraft requested. With this decision Saab was disappointed.

Meanwhile the Canadian federal government said it plans to phase out 88 new F-35 jets to replace the CF-18 Hornet between 2026 and 2032. The reasons for the phased approach vary based on each country's budget process. In addition to the military's ability to accept and support the transition to the new aircraft, as well as the Lockheed Martin production schedule and other orders.

The Canadian Treasury Board's approval covers an initial set of 16 F-35 jets as well as spare parts, weapons, and various initial costs associated with acquiring new jets, such as building a new facility. The Canadian government itself has revealed its plans to order the F-35 fleet in 2010.

The new jet is slated to replace the fleet's aging CF-18 Hornet, a specialized version of the McDonnel Douglas F/A-18 that has been in service with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) since the 1980s. Canada itself is also a member of the Joint Strike Fighter program and is investing heavily in the development of the F-35.

A new tender for a replacement fleet of fighter jets was launched in 2017, resulting in competition between the F-35, Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale and Saab Gripen. In 2021, only the F-35 and Gripen remain after other contestants withdrew their bids or were turned down.

In early 2022 the F-35 was selected again, with the Canadian Ministry of National Defense mentioning that the fifth generation offers the best results for the RCAF.

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