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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Canada to purchase 88 F-35 jets from Lockheed Martin in $14.2 billion deal

Canada has finalized an agreement to purchase 88 F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin for CAD 19 billion ($14.2 billion) as part of a project to replace its aging fleet of aircraft. The new planes will be the largest investment in the Canadian Air Force in over 30 years and are expected to be delivered in 2026, with full operational capability anticipated between 2032 and 2034.

The deal includes infrastructure, weapons, and other related expenses in addition to the cost of the planes. Canada will pay the same price as other participants in the consortium that helped develop the F-35, including the United States.

The announcement coincides with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s trip to Mexico for the North American leaders’ summit.

Ottawa has been struggling for more than a decade to replace its fleet of Boeing Co ( BA.N ) CF-18 fighter jets, some of which are more than 40 years old. The purchase of F-35 stealth fighters would mark the largest investment in the Canadian Air Force in more than 30 years.

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Canada expects the first F-35s to be delivered in 2026, and full operational capability of the fleet is expected between 2032 and 2034, Defense Minister Anita Anand said at a news conference.

The announcement of the F-35 fighter jet deal coincides with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s trip to Mexico on Monday for a summit of North American leaders, where he will meet with US President Joe Biden.

The deal “will help us meet our NORAD and NATO commitments and also bring concrete economic benefits to our country,” Anand said.

The C$19 billion project includes, in addition to the price of the aircraft, the cost of setting up infrastructure, weapons and other related expenses.

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Canada is part of the consortium that helped develop the Lockheed Martin F-35, and Ottawa will pay the same amount for the plane as other participants, including the United States.

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