Mark Collins – Now Likely? Canada to Sole-Source Some Super Hornets for RCAF After All?

Further to this post, keep your eyes open during my blogging break for a week beginning tomorrow, November 22–whole lot of anonymice being sources:

Cabinet could decide fighter jet plan as early as Tuesday [Nov. 22], industry sources say

Industry sources expect the Liberal government to decide as early as Tuesday whether to purchase a new fighter jet without a competition.

Federal cabinet ministers are reportedly considering three options for replacing Canada’s CF-18s, one of which they are expected to pick during their weekly closed-door meeting on Parliament Hill.

The options include holding a competition, buying a new warplane without a competition, or purchasing an “interim” aircraft as a stop-gap measure until a future competition.

The government was eyeing the third option in the spring, with the intention of buying Boeing Super Hornets, until an outcry from industry and the opposition forced them back to the drawing board.

But while Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan held consultations with different industry players in the summer, industry sources say the interim option is back as the preferred choice [i.e. a limited number of Super Hornets–perhaps some of the Growler persuasion (good expeditionarily)?].

Sajjan’s office refused to comment on Monday, with a spokeswoman saying only that a decision still has not been made…

Sajjan would only say that the government had done “a considerable amount of work” on the file.

“We will make a decision on replacing the fighters and will pick a process that will meet the needs of Canada.”..

Perish the thought that the Liberal Party’s political needs might be another consideration.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds


7 thoughts on “Mark Collins – Now Likely? Canada to Sole-Source Some Super Hornets for RCAF After All?”

  1. Below from gov’t news release Nov. 22–will the one squadron of 18 interim Super Hornets be kept after follow-on competition and leave us with mixed fleet? Note at news conference ministers said competition to take five flipping years (i.e.until after next election). Meanwhile new release says Canada will stay (somehow) in F-35 program as a partner:

    “…the Government of Canada has announced that it will launch, within its current mandate, an open and transparent competition to replace the legacy fleet of CF-18 fighter aircraft. This competition will ensure that the Government gets the right aircraft for our women and men in uniform – at the right price – while maximizing economic benefits to Canadians.

    In addition, Canada will immediately explore the acquisition of 18 new Super Hornet aircraft to supplement the CF-18s until the permanent replacement arrives. The Government will enter into discussions with the U.S. Government and Boeing regarding use of these jets for an interim period of time.

    Before proceeding, the Government reserves the right to decide if they can provide the interim fleet at a cost, time, level of capability, and economic value that is acceptable to Canada…

    Quick Facts

    Over the summer of 2016, the Government consulted industry and governments in allied and partner countries to obtain up-to-date information on timelines, current capabilities, costing, and economic benefits associated with potential contender aircraft.

    The competition will cover both the acquisition of and in-service support for the new fleet.

    Discussions with the U.S. Government and Boeing will determine if Boeing can provide the interim solution at a cost, time, and level of capability that are acceptable to Canada.

    Canada will continue participation in the Joint Strike Fighter Program until at least a contract award for the permanent fleet. This will allow Canada to maximize benefits of the partnership and gives Canada the option to buy the aircraft through the program, should the F-35 be successful in the competitive process for the permanent fleet…”;jsessionid=e2a745269c5aa8dce20d6d28c5228f5bb8235efbfcff1bdd37e342d00fcef1c0.e34Rc3iMbx8Oai0Tbx0SaxuRbh50?mthd=index&

    Mark Collins

  2. With RCAF fighters from competition being bought after 2020 Forces’ capital budget will be badly stretched next decade with RCN shipbuilding too:

    Mark Collins

  3. News story–note five year competition, meanwhile staying in F-35 program as partner:

    ‘Canada will explore an interim buy of 18 Super Hornet fighter jets from Boeing, a blow to Lockheed Martin that kicks a final decision on whether to procure the F-35 further down the road…

    Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Canada will launch a larger fighter competition next year, after it wraps up its defense policy. But the competition will likely take about five years, which kicks the decision into the next administration…

    Judy Foote, the country’s minister of Public Services and Procurement, said it would start talking with Boeing “immediately” so that the country could amass an interim fleet as quickly as possible. She said Canada’s ministry of defense had “some idea” of how much the planes would cost, but that the details would be finalized in negotiations.

    Boeing was elated by the news, a major win for the company that could help extend the life of one of its fourth-generation fighter jets.

    “Boeing is honored to provide the Royal Canadian Air Force with the only multi-role fighter aircraft that can fulfill its immediate needs for sovereign and North American defense,” the company stated in a news release. “The Super Hornet’s advanced operational capabilities, low acquisition and sustainment costs, and Boeing’s continued investment in the Canadian aerospace industry — US$6 billion over the past five years alone — make the Super Hornet the perfect complement to Canada’s current and future fighter fleet.”

    Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin was less pleased with the decision, restating its hope that the Canadian government would ultimately purchase the fighter.

    “Lockheed Martin recognizes the recent announcement by the Government of Canada of its intent to procure the 4th generation F/A-18 Super Hornet as an interim fighter capability,” the company said in a statement. “Although disappointed with this decision, we remain confident the F-35 is the best solution to meet Canada’s operational requirements at the most affordable price, and the F-35 has proven in all competitions to be lower in cost than 4th generation competitors. The F-35 is combat ready and available today to meet Canada’s needs for the next 40 years.”

    Canada, an international partner in the joint strike fighter program, will continue its participation in the program, the government stated.’

    Mark Collins

  4. Three tweets, scroll down–gov’t created “capability gap” by changing policy, without consulting head of RCAF–to insist must be fighters always available for both NORAD and NATO commitments (unspecified!) at same time. No “risk management” allowed:

    Then note this from August, NORAD surge requirement 36 RCAF fighters–DND report is 2014:

    Mark Collins

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