Canada has decided to extend the service life of its aging fleet of CF-18 Hornet fighters affecting the prospects of Lockheed Martin and Boeing selling their latest fighters such as the F-35 and F/A-18 in jeopardy.
Canada said in September that it would extend the life of its fighters to 2025 from the previous 2020 end-date. That could be bad news for Boeing, which is seeking orders to keep its F/A-18 production line running past 2017.
Canada announced a contract for 65 F-35s in 2010 but changed its mind in 2012 after a parliamentary watchdog savaged the decision. It is now mulling whether to hold an open competition or confirm the original decision to buy the F-35s.
Although in the short term Boeing will get the CF-18 modernization in the long term it could lose a chance to sell Canada the Super Hornet as a replacement for the CF-18.
“We’re disappointed with the extension of the existing Hornets. We think that pushes the decision (on a replacement) off a little bit,” Dan Gillian, Boeing’s vice-president in charge of the F/A-18 was quoted as saying by Reuters
“If you don’t replace your aging fighters, they get more expensive and they get to be a challenge to maintain, and they become less relevant,” he added.