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08:45 AM, March 3, 2017
Canada Likely To Sign Agreement To Purchase 18 Super Hornets By Early 2018
F/A-18 Super Hornet (Image:Boeing)

The Canadian Government may sign a bilateral agreement with the US to purchase 18 new Super Hornet aircraft and elements of associated in-service support as soon as the end of 2017 or early 2018.

Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) has released an update indicating that the negotiations are proceeding. It provides more information on how the purchase of the interim Super Hornets will unfold, Ottawa Citizen reported Thursday.

The department noted that it has been meeting regularly with the United States government and Boeing to discuss the proposed purchase and how it would proceed through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program.

Earlier today (Friday), Jeff Babione, Lockheed Martin's F-35 programme leader, urged Canada to speed up a decision about whether it would buy the F-35s or Boeing Co's (BA.N) Super Hornets instead.

Babione told reporters at the on-going Avalon Airshow in Australia.

The PSPC statement said, “a letter of offer and acceptance is expected as early as fall 2017, which is a response from the U.S. government outlining how it would meet Canada’s requirements. Prior to signing any agreement, we will review and finalize side agreements with potential U.S. government contractors to ensure they maximize economic benefits for Canadian industry”.

Canada government has started to negotiate with USA about sole-source purchase of F/AQ-18 Super Hornet fighters.

The move, intended as a stopgap solution to ease pressure on the air force's aging fleet of CF-18s, could cost taxpayers between $5 billion and $7 billion over the lifetime of the aircraft, according to data circulating within the Department of National Defence

The decision to buy 18 warplanes in a sole-source deal, originally announced last fall, is meant to address what the Liberal government calls as an urgent "capability gap."

The Canadian government has already signalled it would like to see the first aircraft arrive in 2019.

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