The federal government has made another multimillion-dollar investment into the development of the F-35 stealth fighter despite no guarantee it will buy the aircraft. An F-35A Lightning II fighter jet practises for an air show appearance in Ottawa, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

The federal government has made another multimillion-dollar investment into the development of the F-35 stealth fighter despite no guarantee it will buy the aircraft. An F-35A Lightning II fighter jet practises for an air show appearance in Ottawa, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Canada invests another US$70M in F-35 development despite no commitment to buy

The government says Canadian companies have also secured US$1.8 billion in work related to the stealth fighter

The federal government has made another multimillion-dollar investment into the development of the F-35 stealth fighter jet, even as it weighs a new extension to the $19-billion competition to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s.

Canada made the annual F-35 payment to the U.S. military last week, spending US$70.1 million to remain one of nine partner countries in the fighter-jet project. Each partner is required to cover a portion of the plane’s multibillion-dollar development costs to stay at the table.

Staying in the program has advantages, as partners get a discount when purchasing the jets and compete for billions of dollars in contracts associated with building and maintaining them. The F-35 is being built by U.S. defence giant Lockheed Martin.

While the new payment brings Canada’s total investment in the F-35 to US$541.3 million since 1997, the government says Canadian companies have also secured US$1.8 billion in work related to the stealth fighter.

“This participation provides Canadian industry with contract opportunities that are only available to program participants,” Defence Department spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier said in an email.

“Our membership will also allow us preferential pricing and sequencing in the build schedule should the F-35 aircraft be successful in the current future fighter capability program.”

Canada actually started to shoulder more of the development costs last year. That is because the Liberal government increased the number of new fighter jets that Canada plans to buy to 88 from 65, even though it has not committed to buying the F-35.

News of the payment comes as the federal procurement department confirmed it was considering another extension to the $19-billion competition to replace Canada’s CF-18s. The F-35 is one of three planes in running along with Boeing’s Super Hornet and the Saab Gripen.

The extension was recently requested by one of the three fighter-jet makers. Public Services and Procurement Canada did not confirm which company asked for the extension, but Boeing had previously left the door open to a request because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We can confirm that we are currently evaluating a request from industry to extend the deadline for preliminary proposals,” Public Services and Procurement Canada spokeswoman Michele LaRose said in an emailed statement.

“We remain committed to providing members of the Royal Canadian Air Force with the fighter aircraft they need to do their jobs, and ensuring the best possible value for Canadians.”

The three companies were originally supposed to submit their bids at the end of March, but that was pushed back to June 30 following a request by Saab. Despite the pandemic, the federal procurement department insisted last month that it still expected companies to meet that deadline.

ALSO READ: Six Canadian Forces members killed in helicopter crash honoured at ceremony

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CanadaMilitary

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

Egg producers in B.C. aren’t obligated to reveal their production sites. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Not enough local eggs to meet demand: officials

BC Egg Marketing Board doesn’t regulate labelling

The new Malahat Skywalk is expected to be completed by this summer. (Submitted graphic)
Malahat Skywalk expected to be complete by this summer

$15-million project will see 650-metre elevated wooden pathway constructed

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Trees destroyed a Shoreacres home during a wind storm Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay woman flees just before tree crushes house

Pamala DeRosa is thankful to be alive

Gin, one of the Kantymirs’ two sheep. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Sheep start up ATV, sit in cars and go for walks in Salmon Arm

Until they bought two sheep, Ken and Karleen Kantymir didin’t realize just how social the animals are

Most Read