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Canadian Government Considers Fighter Jet Replacement Program

May Purchase As Many As 65 Joint Strike Fighters

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.

FMI: www.forces.gc.ca/site/index.asp

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