Boeing was informed that its bid in Canada’s Future Fighter Capability Project (FFCP) does not meet the requirements.
The program aims to acquire fighter aircraft to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s current fleet of CF-18 fighters. In total, 88 advanced fighter jets with their associated equipment and weapons should be acquired for a contract valued at C$15 to 19 billion (US$11 to 14 billion).
Boeing had offered its F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet, a deeply modernized variant of Canada’s current F/A-18 ‘Classic’ Hornet aircraft. But in a surprising move, a defense source told The Canadian Press news agency that the United States manufacturer had been dismissed.
The reasons behind the decision have not been detailed. Neither the Canadian government nor Boeing has confirmed the information so far, and the bid still appears on the FFCP’s website. If that information is confirmed, it would leave only two contenders in the race: Lockheed Martin and the F-35 Lightning II, and Saab with its JAS 39 Gripen.
The competition might be tough for the Swedish manufacturer, given that its home country is not a member of NATO. Moreover, the existence of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), a bi-national organization in charge of defending the airspaces of the United States of America and Canada, demands that the new fighter jet has a high level of interoperability with aircraft of the US Air Force.
French plane maker Dassault Aviation withdrew its Rafale proposal on November 8, 2018. Airbus Defence and Space and its Eurofighter Typhoon did the same on August 30, 2019.