Further to this post,
just read between the jobs! jobs! jobs! lines at this article at Flightglobal–seems to me that LockMart (and the Pentagon) have well got at our new government:
The Trudeau government in Canada has launched the country’s largest defence policy review in “over 20 years” [see “Canadian “Defence Policy Review” and Consultations Go Online“] as it considers if and when to exit the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter programme.
Canadian defence minister Harjit Sajjan, who assumed the cabinet position in November, has appointed a four-member advisory panel to oversee the wide-ranging defence policy review, which seeks input from citizens, experts, parliamentarians, allies and the nation’s closest neighbour and collective security partner, the USA…
“The process to replace the CF-18s is just beginning,” the defence minister’s office said in a 6 April email. “We’ve only been in government for a few months, and are making good progress on this file.”
That process, led by the minister of public services and procurement in partnership with the MoD [sic, DND], will “design” a procurement process “for an aircraft that matches Canada’s defence needs” – and local industrial participation will be key.
“We are committed to ensuring that manufacturing contracts for whichever aircraft is chosen will go to Canadian companies,” the spokesman for Sajjan’s office says. “By virtue of our enrollment as a member nation in the F-35 programme [memorandum of understanding], Canadian companies are allowed to compete for F-35 production contracts and have benefitted from these economic opportunities.
“Regardless of which aircraft Canada decides to buy, industrial benefits to Canadian companies will be part of the decision-making process.”..
One also imagines there has been a whole lot of lobbying by Canadian firms with F-35 work. Can Boeing, Dassault, Eurofighter or SAAB match what’s already in the works with LockMart? At a reasonable price?
Remember the Liberals’ election platform:
We will not buy the F-35 stealth fighter-bomber…
Now note the MND’s waffling–to be kind–at his press conference April 6:
When asked specifically about whether the government plans to continue with pursuing Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter jets as a replacement for the aging CF-18s, Sajjan dodged the question, saying only that the government remains committed to replacing the current jets.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed during the election campaign to exclude the F-35 from the procurement process but has faced criticism over how he could do that while still holding an open competition.
The government has since vowed that the competition will be “fair and open” but has declined to give clear answers on whether it is still considering the F-35s.
The defence policy review will not look at specific procurement projects like the CF-18 replacement, Sajjan has said, but will look more broadly at what equipment the military needs to be able to fulfill the vision the review outlines…