Canada looking at data in fighter jet purchase -Boeing exec

Mon Sep 26, 2016 5:40pm EDT
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By Leah Schnurr

OTTAWA, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Canada is assessing data from bidders to replace its aging fleet of fighter jets, a Boeing Co executive said on Monday.

The country's Liberal government promised during last year's election that it would launch an open competition to replace Canada's CF-18 fighter aircraft.

It pledged not to buy Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 jets, as the previous Conservative government had planned to do, calling them expensive and unnecessary.

While the government has yet to release details on such a competition, it requested data this summer from five companies that have fighter aircraft in production or planned production, including Lockheed and Boeing, which wants Canada to buy its F/A-18E/F Super Hornets.

The government sought up-to-date information on areas including capabilities and economic benefits.

"The focus on data was very clear, very strong," said Marc Allen, president of Boeing International, the unit which handles Boeing's strategy and operations outside the United States. "It gave all of the suppliers a chance to set down in black and white what it is their platform does."

Since then, Boeing has been engaged in a "ping-pong" set of questions and answers with the government, said Allen.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has said the government foresees a growing capability gap in the 2020s and that there is an urgent need to replace the CF-18s.   Continued...