Canada has paid $30 million to develop its version of the F-35 fighter jet that could become insurance in the trade dispute between US's Boeing and Canada's Bombardier.
The annual payment was made to the US military at the end of April, the Department of National Defence said in the Canadian Press Friday.
The government will keep Canada at the table as one of nine partners in the fighter jet project for the next year. Canada has paid US$373 million into the program since 1997, National Defence spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande said in an email.
Staying in the program has advantages, as partners can compete for billions of dollars’ worth of contracts associated with the building and maintaining F-35. They also get a discount when purchasing the plane.
That latter point wasn't considered much of a benefit when Canada paid its annual instalment last year, as the Liberals had assured during the 2015 election not to buy the stealth fighter. The government instead went out of its way last July to highlight the potential benefits to Canada's aerospace industry when explaining why it had decided to stick with the program.
Those industrial benefits continue to accrue, Lamirande said, with Canadian companies having secured US$926 million in F-35-related contracts over the last 20 years, including US$114 million in the last year alone.