Canada invests $70M in F35 despite no commitment to buy

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An F35 jet in flight
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The Canadian government has invested an additional US$70m to remain one of the nine partner countries in the development of the F35 fighter jet, despite not yet committing to purchase any of the planes.

Canada is planning to replace its aging CF-18 fighter jets with 88 new planes, and is planning to spend up to $19bn on either the Lockheed Martin F-35, Boeing Super Hornet, or the Saab Gripen. The payment brings the total investment from the Canadian government to US$541.3 million since 1997.

The process to replace the CF18's - which were purchased in 1982 - began in 2010 with a plan to purchase 65 F35's by 2020, but has faced multiple setbacks. In 2018 the Auditor General concluded that the government had not fairly compared the F35 with other competitors. The competition was reopened and the planes are now due to enter into service in 2032.

Competing companies were expected to submit proposals by the end of June 2020, but this deadline has been delayed by a month due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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