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

(Black Press file)
Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools reports COVID-19 exposure at Cedar Elementary

School district says Island Health has completed contact tracing

Ladysmith’s Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 29 responded to the fire. (Gerry Beltgens photo)
Boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

(Black Press file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Wexford Creek home in Nanaimo declared over

Social visits resume at south Nanaimo facility today, Feb. 27, says Island Health

(News Bulletin file)
RDN warns residents not to give financial info over phone

Resident hung up and called RDN after receiving call for credit card information

A crossover utility vehicle smashed through the front of a business on Bowen Road on Friday evening. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Vehicle smashes all the way into business on Nanaimo’s Bowen Road

No serious injuries reported after incident at Venue Financial Centres

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

Several BC Ferries sailings are cancelled Friday due to adverse weather. (Black Press Media File)
All B.C. Ferries sailings cancelled due to winds, adverse weather

Adverse weather causes cancellations across several BC Ferries routes

Wayne Allen's graduation photo from Chemainus Secondary School. (Photo submitted)
Brother charged with murder in Vancouver Island teenager’s Ontario death

Jesse James Allen stands accused in the death of Wayne Allen, a 2020 Chemainus Secondary grad

A 50-year-old man was stabbed in an altercation that started with a disagreement about physical distancing. (File photo)
Argument about physical distancing leads to stabbing in Nanaimo

Suspect arrested on Gabriola Island an hour after incident Wednesday, Feb. 24

British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives to view the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Death threats mount against Dr. Bonnie Henry, sparking condemnation from Horgan, Dix

Henry has become a staple on televisions in homes across British Columbia since January 2020

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Most Read