Military Aviation

Canada will buy 88 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s fleet of CF-188 Hornets

The F-35 has been chosen by the Canadian government as its preferred replacement for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s four-decade-old CF-188 Hornet fighters.

The F-35 has been chosen by the Canadian government as its preferred replacement for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s four-decade-old CF-188 Hornet fighters and will open negotiations with the stealth jet’s manufacturer, Lockheed Martin.

Public Services and Procurement Minister Filomena Tassi and Defence Minister Anita Anand made the announcement on Mar. 28, 2022, CBC News reported.

The decision to open negotiations is the latest step in a process that has been underway for more than a dozen years. It also represents a major reversal for the Liberal government — which pledged in 2015 to never buy the F-35.

“It is the most significant investment in the RCAF in more than 30 years,” Tassi said.

“Our government promised Canadians a competitive procurement process to ensure we are getting the right aircraft at the right price while maximizing economic benefits to Canadians. We committed to running an open, fair and competitive process and we are delivering on that promise.”

Tassi listed the steps the government took — such as hiring an independent fairness monitor — and insisted that politics played no role in the decision. The minister said that she and Anand were not informed who the winning bidder was until just before the announcement.

This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-35A Lightning II 56th OG, 61st FS, LF/12-5050 / 2014

That didn’t stop the Opposition Conservatives from wondering aloud whether entering contract negotiations is another way for the government to delay making a final decision.

“After losing so many years for purely political reasons, we want to have a real response,” said Conservative MP Pierre Paul-Hus in question period. “Will the F-35 be Canada’s final choice or is this yet another time-stretching announcement?”

On Jul. 16 2010, the Government of Canada under Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced its intention to buy 65 F-35s to replace the Canadian Forces’ 80 CF-188 Hornets.

Then, on Oct. 19, 2015 the Liberal Party of Canada under Justin Trudeau won the country federal election and in early Jun. 2016 decided to buy the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet as more affordable alternative to the F-35.

But Canada’s government cancelled a planned $2 billion purchase of 18 F/A-18 Super Hornet fighters because of a decision by Boeing to launch a trade challenge against Canadian planemaker Bombardier, which the US giant accuses of dumping airliners on the domestic American market.

In May 2019 the Canadian government launched a new fighter competition to replace RCAF’s CF-18 Hornets.

Lockheed Martin pitched its F-35 stealth fighter, Boeing offered the F/A-18 Super Hornet and Saab the latest variant of its JAS-39 — the Gripen E version.

Airbus with the Eurofighter and Dassault with the Rafale withdrew earlier from the competition citing concerns about meeting Canadian requirements for interoperability with US forces for NORAD security.

Photo credit: Lockheed Martin

This model is available from AirModels! CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.
Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

Recent Posts

Meet the F-35 “Franken-bird,” the Lightning II made from two mishap damaged F-35As

The making of the F-35 ‘Franken-bird’ F-35 maintenance experts at Hill Air Force Base (AFB)… Read More

21 hours ago

The story of the BEA C-47 Dakota that crashed onto the roof of a house near Northolt Airport. Amazingly, nobody was hurt.

The C-47 Dakota The Douglas DC-3, which made air travel popular and airline profits possible,… Read More

2 days ago

Photos show a “flying saucer” (aka Avro Canada VZ-9AV Avrocar) arriving at the National Museum of the USAF via C-5 Galaxy

The Avro Canada VZ-9AV Avrocar Taken in November 2007 the interesting photos in this post… Read More

3 days ago