Canada will buy 88 F-35 stealth fighter jets to replace its F/A-18 fighters, it announced today. The A contract worth 19 billion dollars— which Ottawa says is the Royal Canadian Air Force’s biggest investment in three decades — comes after years of domestic deliberation over whether to buy the Lockheed Martin-built jet.
“In today’s complex global environment, Canada requires a military that is flexible, agile and capable of responding to a variety of contingencies,” Defense Minister Anita Anand said in a statement. “We are committed to ensuring that our current and future Airmen have the most advanced equipment possible to do just that.”
Monday’s announcement is the culmination of decades of back-and-forth over whether Canada will buy the secret jet.
Background story: Canada has been part of the then-named Joint Strike Fighter program since 1997, but has never bought any of the jets because of their high cost. There have also been questions about why Canada needs radar-evading planes when its fighters are mostly used for homeland defense. In 2016, it delayed the purchase of the F-35, choosing instead to buy F/A-18 Super Hornets.
In the years since, the price of the F-35A—the standard version of the jet—has dropped significantly. In 2016, the planes cost about $102 million each. Today they cost about 78 million dollars. The F-35’s mission potential has also been increased beyond bombing enemy targets and shooting down aircraft, including defense against missile attacks.
There are also plenty of F-35s out in the world now flying missions. Last week, the Pentagon announced a $30 billion order for nearly 400 jets. Some 894 F-35s are in service with the United States and allied militaries.
But that doesn’t mean there weren’t problems. F-35 deliveries are currently on hold following a crash at the F-35 factory in Texas last month. The planes will also need about $15 billion worth of upgrades to use the newer weapons.
However, this did not deter the Allies from purchasing the jets. Over the past year and a half, Switzerland, Finland and Germany have signed contracts for the purchase of the F-35.
Also, congratulations to Canada for his overtime gold medal at the 2023 World Junior Hockey Championship last week. Here is a video from the winning goal.
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The Federal Trade Commission has proposed a rule that would ban employee non-competition clauses. The move would have broad implications across many sectors, including aerospace and defence. This means that employees could jump between competitors for whom they would previously have been contractually prohibited from working.
Surface Navy Association The national symposium begins Tuesday in Arlington, Virginia. A significant number of Navy leaders are scheduled to speak, including Secretary Carlos Del Toro and Adm. Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations.
Modified Boeing 747 aircraft will launch two Naval Research Lab satellites, along with other payloads, later Monday. It will be the UK’s first commercial space launch, although the rocket will launch from a Virgin Orbit 747 at an altitude of 35,000ft. “Designated Space Test Program (STP)-27VPD, the mission will launch NRL’s Coordinated Ionospheric Reconstruction CubeSat Experiment (CIRCE) satellites,” according to an emailed statement from the US Space Force’s Space Systems Command. “Two 6U CubeSats will fly in tandem formation to measure the ionosphere and radiation environment from multiple viewpoints.” The hourly launch window opens at 2:46 PM ET. You can watch the launch here.