On Monday, Canada officially signed off on the purchase of 88 F-35 fighter jets to replace their aging fleet of CF-18 fighters. The deal will cost Canada roughly $14B US in what their Minister of National Defense, Anita Anand, called “the largest investment” in Canada’s air force in three decades. “In today’s complex global environment, Canada requires a military that is flexible, agile and capable of responding to a variety of unforeseen situations. We are committed to ensuring that our current and future aviators have the most advanced equipment possible to do just that,” Anand said in a statement.
“Canada requires a fighter fleet to contribute to the safety and security of Canadians and protect the sovereignty of one of the largest expanses of airspace in the world. We are thrilled to announce today that Canada has selected the F-35 as the fighter aircraft that will fill this important role,” she continued.
The Ministry of Defense said in the announcement that first deliveries of the F-35 are “anticipated to begin in 2026, and we anticipate that we will reach Full Operational Capability with our entire fleet between 2032 and 2034.”
Canada chose Lockheed Martin as the prime-contactor for their F-35s only after threatening to go with Swedish runner-up Saab Gripen if their demands were not met by the American defense behemoth.
“We are honored the Government of Canada has selected the F-35, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Canadian defence industry to deliver and sustain the aircraft,” added Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin’s vice president and general manager of the F-35 program.