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Canada selects F-35 as future fighter

Canada is set to rejoin the international community of F-35 operators, having reconfirmed its selection of the type on 28 March. (Commonwealth of Australia)

Canada has selected the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) to satisfy its Future Fighter Capability Project (FFCP) requirement, opting for the ‘fifth-generation' stealth platform over the Saab Gripen E.

The Canadian government announced the decision on 28 March, saying that it was entering into negotiations with the US government and Lockheed Martin for 88 F-35 jets for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).

“This procurement represents the most significant investment in the RCAF in more than 30 years. It is essential for protecting the safety and security of Canadians. It will enhance our Arctic sovereignty. It will ensure we are equipped to better defend North America, and it will help make sure we continue to meet our NATO and NORAD [North American Aerospace Defense Command] obligations well into the future,” Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) said on its website.

Canada had downselected its FFCP requirement to replace its ageing fleet of Boeing F/A-18 (CF-18/CF-188 in national service) Hornets to the F-35 from the United States and the Gripen E from Sweden. It had earlier discounted the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet from the United States, while France and the United Kingdom had withdrawn the Rafale and Eurofighter, respectively, from the bidding over technical concerns with the requirement.

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