Ottawa officially requests bids for fighter jet replacement deal

CF-18 Hornets fly in formation on their the departure for Operation IMPACT, in Cold Lake, Alberta on Tuesday October 21, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson.

Canada is officially asking four companies to send in their bids to supply a new fleet of fighter jets for the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The 88 jets are to replace the country’s aging CF-18s, which have been in service for more than 35 years.

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After years of stop-and-start work on replacing them, the government launched the current procurement in 2016 and has been working on the details for nearly three years.

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Public Services and Procurement Canada says Saab, Airbus, Lockheed Martin and Boeing have until this fall to demonstrate that they can meet requirements for security and interoperability with allied countries’ forces, and until 2020 to make what the government calls “initial proposals.”

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In announcing the call, the government points out that the bidders will have to show that they have plans to invest as much in economic benefits for Canada as the eventual contract is worth.

A winning bidder is to be chosen in 2022 and the first planes are to arrive in 2025.

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