Future fighter capability project

Project summary

As outlined in Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, Canada will purchase 88 advanced fighter aircraft to contribute to the safety and security of Canadians and to meet Canada’s international obligations. A modern fighter jet fleet is essential for defending Canada and Canadian sovereignty and contribute to our NORAD and NATO commitments, now and in the future.

On January 9, the Government of Canada confirmed that Canada will be procuring the F-35A advanced fighter aircraft. This represents the most significant investment in the Royal Canadian Air Force in more than 30 years.

The acquisition will include associated equipment, weapons, infrastructure, information technology, and sustainment, including training and software support. This project will leverage Canadian capabilities and support the growth of Canada’s aerospace and defence industries.

The first aircraft is anticipated in 2026 with the fleet continuing in service beyond 2060.

Initially some aircraft will be located at the F-35A Pilot Training Center in Luke Air Force Base, Arizona to enable the training of Royal Canadian Air Force pilots while DND completes the necessary infrastructure to support aircraft delivery in Canada.

Project phases

Currently in Phase 4: Implementation

1. Identification

1. Identification

  • January 2010
2. Options analysis

2. Options analysis

  • 2015-2017
3. Definition

3. Definition

  • Project Approval: November 30, 2017
  • Supplier engagement launched: December 12, 2017
  • Release of the Request for Proposals: July 23, 2019
  • Additional Expenditure Authority Approval: April 23, 2020
  • Bid receipt: July 31, 2020
  • Bid evaluation complete: December 01, 2021
  • Implementation project approval: December 2022
  • Contract Approval: December 2022
4. Implementation

4. Implementation

  • First Aircraft Delivery: 2026
  • Initial Operational Capability: 2029-2030
  • Full Operational Capability: 2032-2034
5. Close-out

5. Close-out

  • 2033-2035

Learn more about the Defence procurement process.

Additional information

Project updates

Project updates

January 9, 2023
The Government of Canada announced that it had finalized an agreement with United States Government and Lockheed Martin with Pratt & Whitney for the acquisition of F-35 fighter jets for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).

March 28, 2022
The Government of Canada announced it was entering the finalization phase of the procurement process with the top-ranked bidder, the United States Government and Lockheed Martin, for the F-35 fighter jet.

December 1, 2021
The Government of Canada announced that following evaluation of the proposals, two bidders remain eligible under the Future Fighter Capability Project competitive procurement process:

  • Swedish Government—SAAB AB (publ)—Aeronautics with Diehl Defence GmbH & Co. KG, MBDA UK Ltd., and RAFAEL Advanced Defence Systems Ltd., and
  • United States Government—Lockheed Martin Corporation (Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company) with Pratt and Whitney.

March and April 2021
As part of the Phased Bid Compliance Process (PBCP), Canada sent Compliance Assessment Reports (CAR) to each of the three bidders, indicating whether they are compliant with the mandatory requirements. In cases where bids were non-compliant, the bidders have a limited amount of time to submit their responses for further evaluation by Canada.

March and April 2021
Site preparation work began in Cold Lake and Bagotville.

September 28, 2020
Canada awarded a $12.1-million contract to the joint venture of EllisDon and EBC Inc. for the design of a new fighter jet facility at 3 Wing Bagotville.

August 13, 2020
Canada awarded a $9.2-million contract to EllisDon Construction Services for the design of a new fighter jet facility at 4 Wing Cold Lake.

July 31, 2020
The Government of Canada received bids from all three suppliers currently eligible to participate in the future fighter competitive procurement process. Proposals are being rigorously assessed on elements of capability, cost and economic benefits.

June 17, 2020
Canada issued a second Request for Proposal, this time for the design and construction of a new fighter jet facility at 3 Wing Bagotville. This facility will host two squadrons and will include space for daily operations, maintenance and training. These fighter jet facilities are essential to enabling operations of the future fighter, and will accommodate any aircraft selected through the competitive process.

May 20, 2020
Canada issued a Request for Proposal for the design and construction of a new fighter jet facility at 4 Wing Cold Lake. This facility will host three fighter squadrons and space for daily operations, maintenance, and training. Starting this infrastructure work now – ahead of choosing a future fighter – is essential to enabling future fighter operations. It will ensure the facility is ready for the first aircraft deliveries, regardless of which aircraft is selected.

May 6, 2020
At the request of industry, the Government of Canada granted another month extension to the proposal submission deadline as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the industry. Eligible suppliers now had until July 31, 2020 to submit their proposals.

April 29, 2020
Infrastructure briefings took place with industry members in Alberta.

February 25, 2020
At the request of industry, Canada granted an extension to the previous deadline of March 30, 2020, for submitting proposals for the Future Fighter Capability Project. Eligible suppliers now had until June 30, 2020, to finalize and submit their proposals.

February 12, 2020
Infrastructure briefings took place with industry members in Montreal.

January 31, 2020
Feedback was provided to eligible suppliers on their security offers, in order to help ensure that Canada receives competitive proposals that meet its technical, cost and economic benefits requirements.

From December 5 to 10, 2019
The three Supplier teams, Sweden-Saab (Gripen E), US-The Boeing Company (F/A-18 Super Hornet) and US-Lockheed Martin (F-35 Lightning II), visited 3 Wing Bagotville and 4 Wing Cold Lake.

October 4, 2019
The three remaining Supplier teams, US-Boeing, US-Lockheed Martin and Sweden-SAAB, submitted their Preliminary Security Offer, which explains how their aircraft meets Canada’s 5 Eyes and 2 Eyes security and interoperability requirements.

August 30, 2019
The UK government and its commercial partner Airbus officially notified Canada of their withdrawal from the competitive process to replace Canada’s fighter jet fleet.

August 15, 2019
Canada provided an online presentation to representatives of Canada's aerospace and defence industries on the status of the FFCP and the ITB/VP approach.

July 23, 2019
Canada released the formal Request for Proposal (RFP) to eligible Suppliers. Suppliers will have until early 2020 to submit their proposals.

June 26-27, 2019
The project office held teleconferences with eligible Suppliers to discuss their comments on the second draft of the RFP.

June 20, 2019
Canada released a second draft of the RFP to eligible suppliers for their review and feedback.

May 23 to 31, 2019
The project office held teleconferences and meetings with eligible Suppliers to discuss their feedback on the draft RFP.

February 4 to 15, 2019
Canada met with Supplier teams to discuss the draft request for proposal feedback.

December 21, 2018
Comments and feedback on the draft request for proposal were provided by the supplier teams.

November 29 to December 4, 2018
Suppliers visited Royal Canadian Air Force bases.

November 8, 2018
The government of France and its commercial partner Dassault Aviation officially notified Canada of their withdrawal from the competitive process to replace Canada’s fighter jet fleet.

October 26 2018
Canada released the draft Request for Proposals to eligible suppliers for their review and feedback. Their feedback will be used to refine and finalize the formal Request for Proposals.

September 18 to 21, 2018
Follow-up teleconference calls were held with the five Supplier Teams.

June 11 to July 5, 2018
A second round of meetings with the five Supplier teams took place.

April 23 to May 1, 2018
Future Fighter Regional Forums were held across the country. During these, over 250 Canadian companies and over 50 research organizations provided input on Canada’s ITB/VP approach and learned more about the FFCP.

March 26 to April 11, 2018
Initial meetings were held with the five Supplier Teams covering topics such as aircraft capability, procurement, sustainment and economic benefits.

March 2018
Formal Supplier Engagement began. Future Fighter Capability Project representatives began meetings with parties on the Suppliers List to discuss the procurement approach, sustainment requirements, infrastructure requirements, aircraft and associated system requirements, and Industrial and Technological Benefits, among other topics.

February 22, 2018
The Government of Canada posted the Suppliers List (PDF , 65.3 KB). Only the listed Suppliers will be allowed to submit proposals in the competition for the future fighter capability.

January 22, 2018
The Government of Canada hosted an FFCP Industry Day. The objective of this event was to present foreign governments and industry with the information required for them to make an informed decision about participating in the procurement. In addition, the event provided an opportunity for Canadian industry to network with foreign governments and fighter aircraft manufacturers.

December 12, 2017
The Government of Canada launched an open and transparent competition for the permanent replacement of Canada’s fighter fleet and posted a notice on Buyandsell.gc.ca inviting foreign governments and their fighter aircraft manufacturers together to demonstrate their suitability to participate in this process.

November 30, 2017
Required approvals were granted to the FFCP for entry into the definition phase.

June 7, 2017
Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada’s Defence Policy reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to invest appropriately in Canada’s military, including the procurement of 88 new advanced fighter aircraft for the Royal Canadian Air Force.

November 22, 2016
The Government of Canada announced that it will launch an open, fair and transparent competition to replace the legacy fleet of CF-18 fighter aircraft.


Benefiting Canadian Industry

Over three years, Canada consulted with stakeholders from the Canadian aerospace and defence industries to inform them about the FFCP, including the Industrial and Technological Benefits/Value Proposition (ITB/VP) requirements, and to position them for future work on this project.

Canada has implemented a Value Proposition that seeks to motivate generational investments in Canada’s aerospace and defence industries over the coming decades, and drive innovation, skills development, and export opportunities, in such areas as In-Service Support, Aerospace Systems and Components and Space Systems, while ensuring best value and supporting Canada’s defence priorities.

Technical information

Technical information

  • Maximum speed: Mach 1.6
  • Service ceiling: 15,240 m
  • G-limit: 9
  • Range: >2200 km (1200NM) - Ability to fly non-stop from Cold Lake AB to Inuvik NWT
  • Payload: >8,160 kg of Ordnance using Internal + 6 External weapon stations
  • Interoperable with Canada’s allies.
  • Advanced Radar
  • Electro-Optical and Infrared Sensors
  • Advanced Voice and Data Link Communications
  • Networking and Data Fusion Capabilities
  • Helmet Mounted Sight
Project costs

Project costs

Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged estimates the acquisition of the aircraft, associated equipment and setup to enable entry into service will cost $19 billion.



The approved project schedule is considered quite aggressive, and our project team and partners are working diligently to manage and mitigate any risks that may arise.

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