Canada canceling purchase of new Boeing fighter jets

Canadian CF-18 Hornet

Report: Canada canceling purchase of new Boeing fighter jets

The Canadian government is contemplating buying used F/A-18 Hornets from Australia instead of procuring new Super Hornet planes directly from Boeing, a move that would be a major blow to the company's fresh new aircraft line, Defense News reports.

The same sources also indicate Canada will buy a fleet of used F-18 fighter jets from Australia's defense forces, jets that match the models that Canadian defense forces now operate.

The Liberal government had wanted to buy 18 Super Hornet fighter jets but that plan was derailed when the jet's manufacturer, Boeing, filed the trade complaint in April against Bombardier of Quebec over its civilian passenger jets.

Read the whole story from Reuters.

Last year, Canada announced that it would buy the F/A-18 Super Hornets as a stopgap to replace its aging CF-18 fighters until it can hold a new competition for a replacement.

The Canadian government then confirmed on 29 September it submitted an expression of interest, formally marking Canada's interest in the Australian equipment. Boeing alleged that Bombardier was selling the planes at "absurdly low" prices, and the Department of Commerce imposed a preliminary 300 percent import duty on Bombardier's CS 100 planes.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the country "won't do business with a company that's busy trying to sue us and put our aerospace workers out of business".

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has said Canada can not meet all of its obligations to the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) with its current fleet of CF-18s, arguing new fighter jets are needed before the entire fleet is replaced in the next decade. It would be a deeply unfortunate outcome.

In response, the Commerce Department in September imposed a almost 220-percent preliminary tariff on the C-series, but a final decision is not until 2018.

The final ruling in the case is expected next year, but the relationship between Boeing and Canada has nosedived since.

However, Boeing Defense President and CEO Leanne Caret's reaction might offer observers a hint. "Unfortunately, I think they're taking advantage of a [political] context that's favourable to them".

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