Its now official. After years of false starts and delays Canada will join growing number of countries who have adopted the Lockheed-Martin F35 fighter jet. In addition to the US which has hundreds of the stealth fighter other western countries using the aircraft include , United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, Australia, Norway, and Denmark The F-35 provides pilots with enhanced intelligence; surveillance; and reconnaissance capabilities, greatly improving their situational awareness and survivability in today’s high-threat operational environment.
Canada’s new fleet of 88 jets is being acquired in tranches – starting with an initial tranche of 16. The first four aircraft will be delivered in 2026, the next six in 2027, and the next six in 2028, with the full fleet to arrive in time to enable the phase out of the CF-18s by the end of 2032.
In all it is an $19 Billion investment which will include the construction of modern fighter squadron facilities in Bagotville, Quebec, and Cold Lake, Alberta.
Defense Minister Anita Anand said, “the acquisition and initial maintenance of the F-35 has the potential to contribute over 425 million dollars annually to the Canadian economy and close to 3,300 jobs annually for Canadian industry over a 25-year period. In fact, Canada’s participation in the Joint Strike Fighter program over the past number of years has already allowed companies in Canada to secure almost three billion USD in contracts, and this will grow…Approximately three thousand F-35s are forecast to be produced for partners and allies across the world – and every one of these jets will also include Canadian components – from landing gear parts, to engine parts, to software… Our industry will also be well positioned to participate in the substantial maintenance opportunities of both the Canadian and global fleets.
The F-35 is considered to be the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world with a top speed of Mach 1.6 (nearly 2,000 kph) and a combat range of 1239 km. It is armed with a variety of missiles and bombs as well as cannon.