(OTTAWA, ON) – The Government of Canada today announced it is acquiring the fifth generation Joint Strike Fighter F-35 aircraft to contribute to the modernization of the Canadian Forces, while bringing significant economic benefits and opportunities to regions across Canada.
“The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the best aircraft we can provide our men and women in uniform to face and defeat the challenges of the 21st century,” said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. “This multi-role stealth fighter will help the Canadian Forces defend the sovereignty of Canadian airspace, remain a strong and reliable partner in the defence of North America, and provide Canada with an effective and modern capability for international operations.”
“A lengthy and intense competition was completed in 2001 for who would build the F-35,” said the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women. “Canadian companies and the Canadian government helped develop the F-35, and now we are exercising our option under the Joint Strike Fighter memorandum of understanding to acquire it.”
“Canadian participation in the Joint Strike Fighter program will bring high-value jobs and other economic benefits to our country,” said Jacques Gourde, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and to the Minister of National Revenue and Member of Parliament for Lotbinière-Chutes-de-la-Chaudière. “This government is delivering on our plan to strengthen Canada’s defence industry, leverage Canada’s competitive advantage and work with industry to help position Canadian companies for success in the global marketplace.”
The Government of Canada has committed approximately $9 billion to the acquisition of 65 F-35 aircraft and associated weapons, infrastructure, initial spares, training simulators, contingency funds and project operating costs. Delivery of the new aircraft is expected to start in 2016.
To date, Canada has invested approximately $168 million in the Joint Strike Fighter program. Since 2002, the Government’s participation in the program has led to more than $350 million in contracts for more than 85 Canadian companies, research laboratories, and universities – a clear demonstration of the significant benefits this program has for Canada.
“The Joint Strike Fighter program allows Canadian companies to build on existing strengths and establish strategic capabilities,” said the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry. “Canadian companies will have direct involvement in the design of equipment in the short term, while also setting in motion opportunities for decades to come.”
The Canada First Defence Strategy identifies Canada’s need for a next generation fighter aircraft to protect the safety and security of Canadians, while supporting foreign policy and national security objectives. The acquisition of the F-35 helps the Canadian Forces defend against the threats of the 21st century at home, across vast distances and in harsh environmental conditions, and abroad.
The F-35 Lightning II has been developed by Lockheed Martin and partners through the Joint Strike Fighter program, a multinational effort to build and sustain an affordable, multi-role, next generation stealth fighter aircraft. Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, Turkey, Denmark, Norway, and Australia are all partners in the program.
As a partner in the Joint Strike Fighter program since 1997, Canada participated in the extensive and rigorous US-led competitive process, which led to the selection of Lockheed Martin and its partners as the Joint Strike Fighter manufacturer in 2001.