January 12, 2023

Canada finalizes deal to purchase 88 F-35 fighter jets

Jon Robinson

Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence on January 9 announced that Canada has finalized an agreement with the United States government and Lockheed Martin with Pratt & Whitney for the acquisition of F-35 fighter jets for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).

As outlined in its generational Strong, Secure, Engaged defence policy, the Government of Canada was committed to purchase 88 new fighter jets to replace its ageing CF-18 Hornet fleet.

“In today’s complex global environment, Canada requires a military that is flexible, agile and capable of responding to a variety of unforeseen situations,” said Anand. “We are committed to ensuring that our current and future aviators have the most advanced equipment possible to do just that.”

The estimated investment for the purchase of 88 F-35s is $19 billion, which includes associated equipment, sustainment set-up and services, as well as the construction of Fighter Squadron Facilities in Bagotville and Cold Lake. Each plane will cost approximately US$85 million each.

The first deliveries of Canada’s F-35s aircraft are anticipated to begin in 2026. The government anticipates it will reach Full Operational Capability for the entire fleet between 2032 and 2034.

The federal government states the acquisition and initial sustainment of the F-35 project has the potential to contribute over $425 million annually to Canada’s gross domestic product and close to 3,300 jobs annually for Canadian industry and value chain partners over a 25-year period (direct and indirect).

(Photo: Lockheed Martin)