Canada finalizes agreement to buy 88 US F-35 fighter jets

AP , Monday 9 Jan 2023

Canada has finalized an agreement with Lockheed Martin Corp and the United States government to purchase 88 F-35 fighter jets, government officials said Monday.

 Justin Trudeau
FILE- President Joe Biden looks to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a meeting of G7 and NATO leaders in Bali, Indonesia, Nov. 16, 2022. AP


The first such aircraft are anticipated to be delivered in 2026 with full operational capacity for the fleet expected between 2032 and 2034.

The government said last year Lockheed Martin's F-35 was deemed to be the top-ranked bidder for a new fighter jet.

Canada previously ruled out the Boeing's Super Hornet to replace aging F-18s.

The government has budgeted about $19 billion Canadian (US$15 billion) for the purchase in what is the largest investment in the Royal Canadian Air Force in more than 30 years. Each jet costs about US$85 million.

The full life cycle of the program is expected to cost $70 billion (US$52 billion)

Canada has a close defense relationship with the United States, which includes using fighter jets together to defend North American air space.

The announcement comes as Trudeau is set to meet with US President Joe Biden at the North American Leaders' Summit in Mexico.

A former Conservative Canadian government previously announced the purchase of the F-35 but the current Liberal government delayed that purchase and opened up the bidding to competition.

Before becoming prime minister, Trudeau said Canada wouldn't buy the F-35.

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