In a move that may bee seen as controversial by Canadian
citizens, the government said that it plans to announce Friday that
it plans to purchase as many as 65 new fighter aircraft to the tune
of $16 billion. The top contender, sources say, is the F-35
Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.
Canada's Department of National Defense says it has not
officially decided on which aircraft will replace its current
fighter fleet. Defense Minister Peter MacKay had announced in May
that Canada would buy the JSF, but he later backtracked and said
there would be a competitive bid process.
The Vancouver Sun reports that the news is coming at a time when
Parliament is not in session, and that national interest is
relatively low due to the summer holidays. But some opposition
members of Parliament are questioning whether the current fleet of
CF-18 fighters needs to be replaced at all. The last upgraded CF-18
was delivered in March, and some are saying that the cost of a new
fighter can't be justified.
The $16 billion (Canadian) price tag reportedly would include a
20 year support contract.