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Canada confirms Boeing no longer in the running for its future fighter project

Canadian Hornet formation
RCAF file photo of CF-188 Hornets that are expected to be replaced by either the Gripen or F-35 fighters

Following reports from last week, the Canadian government has now confirmed that Boeing is no longer in the race to deliver the next generation of fighter jets for the Royal Canadian Air Force.

First reports on the next stage of Canada’s future fighter program said Boeing’s Super Hornet proposal failed one or more requirements. The government did not provide additional details as to why Boeing’s proposal was eliminated.

The official announcement from December 1 said teams led by Saab and Lockheed Martin remain in the competition to deliver up to 88 advanced fighter jets.

The Swedish SAAB is leading a team composed of Diehl Defence, MBDA UK, and Rafael, to offer the Gripen fighter to Canada. The company previously said it would join forces with IMP Aerospace & Defence, CAE, Peraton Canada and GE Aviation to offer its Gripen E fighter.

Lockheed Martin is teamed with Pratt and Whitney to offer its F-35 fifth-generation fighter to Canada.

Dassault Aviation and Airbus previously withdrew from the competition with many believing the decisions had been made due to Canada’s perceived inclination towards one of the US proposals.

“Proposals were rigorously assessed on elements of capability, cost and economic benefits. The evaluation also included an assessment of economic impact,” the Canadian government said in a statement.

Over the coming weeks, Canada will finalize next steps for the process, which, based on further analysis of the two remaining bids, could involve proceeding to final negotiations with the top-ranked bidder or entering into a competitive dialogue, whereby the two remaining bidders would be provided with an opportunity to improve their proposals.

The government said it continues to work towards a contract award in 2022, with delivery of aircraft as early as 2025.

The Future Fighter Capability Project is Canada’s most significant investment in the RCAF in more than 30 years and will allow the service to retire the aging CF-18 Hornet fighter fleet, which is expected to remain in the air until 2032.