Noteworthy as already announced by Canada’s Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan on Sep. 6, 2017 the Australian Hornets are very similar to F/A-18s flown by Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and will fit the service needs for an “interim” fighter.
Reuters claims its information came from three sources, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation.
The move underlines Ottawa’s anger at a decision by Boeing to launch a trade challenge against Canadian planemaker Bombardier, which the U.S. giant accuses of dumping airliners on the domestic American market.
It also casts into question the future of Boeing’s military sales in Canada. Boeing says its commercial and defense operations in Canada support more than 17,000 Canadian jobs.
As previously reported the Canadian government said in 2016 it would enter into discussions with the U.S. on buying several samples of Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft as interim fighter to supplement RCAF CF-18 fleet and then holding an open competition to determine which aircraft will be Canada’s “definitive” fighter.
But on May 18, 2017 Canada’s government Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland warned that her country could have cancelled the planned $2 billion purchase of 18 F/A-18 Super Hornet fighters because of U.S. Department of Commerce anti-dumping investigations against Canadian plane-maker Bombardier. Boeing in fact claimed the same day that since Bombardier’s new larger C Series passenger aircraft receives Canadian government subsidies that can give it advantages on international market, duties should be imposed on the Canadian airliner.
Two of the sources said Australian military officials had been in Ottawa late last month for talks.
By buying the Australian Hornets Canada would save money as well as avoid the need to train its pilots on a new aircraft or spend money on a new supply chain, one source said.
The offices of Public Works Minister Carla Qualtrough and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, who share responsibility for military procurement, both declined to comment.
Canada is due to officially announce the requirements for its new fighter fleet in early 2019, kicking off an open competition.
One potential contender is Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter, which Trudeau initially said he would not buy because it was too expensive. The government has since softened its line, saying the plane would be allowed to compete.
Photo credit: Royal Australian Air Force and Lt. Aaron B. Hicks
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com
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