Aircraft enhancements required to comply with North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has forced Eurofighter to opt out of the Canadian fighter jet replacement tender.
In July 2019, the country invited four companies- Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Saab and Airbus, to submit bids to supply 88 combat aircraft for an estimated $14.5 billion (C$19 billion). Interested bidders were asked to submit initial proposals by spring of 2020 to replace Canada's ageing fleet of 76 CF-18 fighters.
After a detailed review of Request For Proposal (RFP) issued by the Canadian government, Airbus has decided to pull out of the competition citing high costs the company would incur if it complies with NORAD security requirements. NORAD is a bi-national organization in charge of defending airspaces of USA and Canada.
“A detailed review has led the parties to conclude that NORAD security requirements continue to place too significant of a cost on platforms whose manufacture and repair chains sit outside the United States-Canada 2-EYES community,” European manufacturer announced in a joint statement with the UK MoD on August 30.
Airbus was required to demonstrate how it planned to integrate the Typhoon system into the Canada-US intelligence network, known as 2-EYES, without knowing its technical details, according to Canadian media La Presse.
Additionally, the company stated that the revised industrial technological benefits (ITB) obligations provided in the RFP do not ‘sufficiently value the binding commitments the Typhoon Canada package was willing to make’.
Ottawa tweaked a defense procurement law earlier this year according to which bidders were required to offer industrial benefits to Canada as part of the competition. The US’ F-35 programme prohibits partner nations including Canada, from imposing requirements for industrial benefits in fighter jet competitions. Altering this law enabled Lockheed Martin's F-35 jet to take part in Canada's future fighter aircraft program.