Government launches open and transparent competition to replace Canada’s fighter aircraft

News Release

December 12, 2017 - Ottawa, Ontario - Government of Canada

Acquiring the aircraft that Canada’s military needs to help ensure the safety and security of Canadians, while ensuring economic benefits for Canada, is a top priority for the Government of Canada. The government is delivering on its promise to hold an open and transparent competition to permanently replace Canada’s fighter fleet.

As outlined in the Strong, Secure, Engaged defence policy, Canada will purchase 88 advanced fighter aircraft. This is the most significant investment in the Royal Canadian Air Force in more than 30 years, and is essential for protecting the safety and security of Canadians, and meeting international defence obligations.

Through this competition, the Government of Canada will ensure it gets the right aircraft at the right price, and maximizes economic benefits for Canadians. The government will ensure that the Canadian aerospace and defence industries and manufacturers are consulted and engaged in this process.

Proposals will be rigorously assessed on cost, technical requirements and industrial, technological and economic benefits. As it is important to do business with trusted partners, the evaluation of bids will also include an assessment of bidders’ impact on Canada’s economic interests.

When bids are assessed, any bidder responsible for harm to Canada’s economic interests will be at a distinct disadvantage. This new assessment, as well as guidelines for its application as an ongoing procurement tool, will be developed through appropriate consultations.

In addition, the Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy will apply to this procurement, requiring the winning supplier to make investments in Canada equal to the value of the contract.

Until permanent replacement aircraft are in place and fully operational, Canada must ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces has the equipment it needs to continue to deliver its missions, and meet its international obligations. As such, the Government of Canada will pursue the purchase of 18 supplemental jets from the Australian Government.


“As we promised, our government is launching an open and transparent competition to replace our fighter fleet with 88 advanced jets. We are also supplementing our CF-18 fleet by pursuing the purchase of jets from Australia while we complete this important and complex procurement. Today’s announcement is about ensuring that our women and men in uniform continue to have the equipment they need to protect Canadians. At the same time, we will use this procurement to strengthen our aerospace and defence industries, create good middle-class jobs and support our economic interests.”

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough
Minister of Public Services and Procurement

“Our women and men in uniform are entrusted with the enormous responsibility of ensuring the safety of Canadians every day. Today’s announcement is a key step toward making sure that they have the equipment they need to fulfill this responsibility and meet our commitments to our partners and allies around the world.”

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan
Minister of National Defence

“This project represents a significant opportunity to support the long-term competitiveness of Canada’s aerospace and defence industries, which together contribute more than 240,000 jobs to the Canadian economy. We are committed to leveraging the procurement of the future fleet to support innovation, promote the growth of Canadian suppliers, including small and medium-sized businesses, and create middle-class jobs for Canadians.”

The Honourable Navdeep Bains
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development 

Quick Facts

  • Today’s announcement marks the official launch of the open, competitive process to replace Canada’s fighter jet fleet.

  • The government will begin by establishing a list of suppliers, comprised of foreign governments and fighter aircraft manufacturers that have demonstrated their ability to meet Canada’s needs, as defined in the Suppliers List invitation. All companies are welcome to participate in the process.

  • Extensive planning and stakeholder engagement will take place throughout 2018 and 2019.

  • A contract award is anticipated in 2022 and the first replacement aircraft delivered in 2025.

  • The government will engage with foreign governments, fighter aircraft manufacturers and the Canadian aerospace and defence industries to ensure they are well-positioned to participate.

  • The purchase of 88 aircraft represents an increase in fleet size of more than a third of what was planned prior to the Strong, Secure, Engaged defence policy (65 aircraft).

  • Together, Canada’s aerospace and defence industries contribute over 240,000 quality jobs.

  • Aerospace is one of the most innovative and export-driven industries in Canada and adds $28 billion annually in gross domestic product to Canada’s economy.

  • The Canadian defence sector includes over 650 firms employing highly skilled workers in high-quality jobs.

Associated Links


Ashley Michnowski
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Carla Qualtrough

Media Relations
Public Services and Procurement Canada

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