Feds Planning to Push Back Delivery Date for New Fighter Jets: Sources

December 6, 2017 11:22 pm Last Updated: December 6, 2017 11:30 pm

OTTAWA—Industry sources say the Trudeau government is preparing to push back the expected delivery date of a new fighter jet to replace Canada’s aging CF-18 fleet.

The Liberals said last year that they planned to start receiving new fighters in about five years, or around 2021, at which point the 30-year-old CF-18s would start being phased out.

But several sources tell The Canadian Press that defence officials don’t expect the first new plane to be delivered for another eight years, which would put the time frame around 2026.

The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, would not speculate on why the delivery schedule was being changed.

But the decision could have major financial implications if it means having to sink even more money into the CF-18s than the hundreds of millions already set aside to keep them flying into the next decade.

Some are also wondering whether the Liberals, who had promised to launch a formal fighter-jet competition before the 2019 election, now plan to hold off until after Canadians go to the polls.

News of the expected delay comes as the government is moving ahead on the purchase of used fighter jets from Australia instead of brand-new Super Hornets from Boeing to temporarily bolster Canada’s CF-18 fleet.

The Liberals had planned to buy 18 Super Hornets, at an estimated cost of $6 billion, until Boeing launched a trade dispute against Canadian rival Bombardier.

From The Canadian Press