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Canada has agreed to purchase Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighter jets for C$19B

Defence Technology

Canada has agreed to purchase Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighter jets for C$19B

Canada has agreed to buy 88 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets for C$19 billion ($14.2 billion) to replace its ageing fighter fleet.

According to Defense Minister Anita Anand, Canada expects the first F-35s to be delivered in 2026 and the fleet to be fully operational between 2032 and 2034.

The F-35 "is the most advanced fighter on the market, and it is the right aircraft for our country," Anand told reporters, adding that the purchase and maintenance of the aircraft could contribute more than C$425 million to the Canadian economy and close to 3,300 jobs annually. Anand stated that it was the most significant investment in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 30 years.

The announcement of the F-35 fighter jet coincides with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's trip to Mexico for the North American leaders' summit on Monday, where he will meet US President Joe Biden.

For more than a decade, Ottawa has been attempting to replace its fleet of Boeing Co. CF-18 fighters, some of which are over 40 years old. Delays were caused by a change in governments, rule changes for the aircraft procurement process, and challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Trudeau government, which was initially opposed to purchasing F-35s due to the high cost, held a competitive process to select the planes, and Lockheed beat out Sweden's SAAB and Boeing.

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