Canada narrowed down its decade-long hunt for CF-18 replacement to two choices: Lockheed Martin F-35 and Saab’s Gripen.
The Government on Wednesday officially rejected Boeing’s Super Hornet offer. The country is acquiring a total of 88 fighter jets to replace its old CF-18s.
Saab is collaborating with Diehl Defence, MBDA UK, and RAFAEL; while Lockheed Martin has teamed up with Pratt and Whitney.
Over the coming weeks, Canada will finalize next steps for the process, which, based on further analysis of the 2 remaining bids, could involve proceeding to final negotiations with the top-ranked bidder or entering into a competitive dialogue, whereby the 2 remaining bidders would be provided with an opportunity to improve their proposals, the government said.
A contract award is expected next year. Delivery of first of these jets will take place in 2025.
Canada’s requirements included ensuring their aircraft could integrate with the “Two Eyes” intelligence network with the U.S.
Sweden is not a member of NATO or NORAD, the joint Canadian-American defense command responsible for protecting North America from foreign threats. That had prompted questions about the Swedish-made Gripen's compatibility with U.S. aircraft.