Feds mum on subsequent step in fighter jet competitors

Federal procurement officers will not say when Canada will take the subsequent step within the years-long course of of choosing a brand new fighter jet.

The federal authorities introduced in December that it had narrowed its seek for a substitute of the navy’s ageing CF-18s to Lockheed Martin’s F-35 and the Swedish Saab Gripen.

The federal government stated at the moment a choice can be made in brief order on whether or not the federal government would have interaction in one other spherical of negotiations with the 2 corporations, or choose a winner outright.

But practically 4 months later, no announcement has been forthcoming, resulting in considerations about even additional delays in changing Canada’s CF-18s at a time when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has underscored the significance of recent navy capabilities.

Public Providers and Procurement Canada assistant deputy minister Simon Web page stated Tuesday the method is “very active, very live” as he was grilled by a parliamentary committee over the dearth of a choice.

But whereas Web page and different federal officers expressed optimism {that a} contract with the profitable bidder will probably be signed by the tip of the 12 months, they declined to offer any particulars on the explanations for the delay or when a choice on the subsequent step may come.

“Answering the question would have us lean one way over the other,” Web page informed members of the Home of Commons authorities operations committee. “And I just don’t want to answer that at this time, to protect the integrity of the process.”

It additionally wasn’t instantly clear who will finally determine whether or not to maneuver forward with one other spherical of negotiations with Lockheed Martin and Saab, or the number of a closing winner.

Conservative committee member Kelly McCauley expressed concern in regards to the lack of readability round what is going on with the fighter procurement, significantly given the quite a few delays which have dragged the seek for a brand new fighter out over a decade.

The federal authorities is planning to purchase 88 new fighter jets at an estimated value of as much as $19 billion, with supply of the primary aircraft anticipated no sooner than 2025. The ultimate plane was imagined to be delivered in 2032, however that has since moved to 2033.

The Boeing Tremendous Hornet was additionally within the working, however was kicked out of the competitors in December.

The profitable number of a brand new fighter jet this 12 months would mark the fruits of greater than a decade of stop-start efforts marked by mismanagement and political controversy underneath two successive federal governments.

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed March 22, 2022.

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