Canada launched the much anticipated process to replace its ageing fleet of CF-18 Hornet fighter jets Tuesday, announcing plans to purchase 88 advanced aircraft to beef up its air force, amid an ongoing dispute with Boeing. In a shot across Boeing's bow, the Trudeau government warned the aerospace giant that unless it drops its trade action against Canadian plane maker Bombardier over its C-Series regional passenger jet, the Seattle-based company will be at "distinct disadvantage" when it comes to competing for the lucrative jet contract. Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough told reporters in Ottawa the Liberal government wants to maximize economic impacts of the multi-billion deal with investments by bidders in the Canadian aerospace industry. The evaluation of bids will also include an assessment of bidders' impact on Canada's economic interests, she said.
"This new assessment is an incentive for bidders to contribute positively to Canada's economy," Qualtrough said.
"Bidders responsible for harming Canada's economic interests will be at a distinct disadvantage compared to bidders who aren't engaged in detrimental behaviour."
Potential bidders include Boeing (Super Hornet), Dassault (Rafale), Eurofighter (Typhoon), Lockheed Martin (F-35) and Saab (Gripen). No company would be excluded from the competition.