Canada to buy 88 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets
Ottawa is expected to receive F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin as early as year 2025.
Canada announced Monday plans to buy 88 US-made F-35 stealth fighter jets to replace its aging fleet.
The F-35 "has proven to be a mature, capable and interoperable aircraft and that is why we are moving to the finalization phase of this procurement," Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand told a joint news conference with Procurement Minister Filomena Tassi.
"Canada has one of the greatest air spaces in the world and we have to make sure that our next fleet of fighter jets is flexible, agile and able to meet a wide spectrum of threats," Anand pointed out.
The new aircraft's central role will be to patrol North American air space with the US Air Force under North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).
"The world changed on February 24th"
Candian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly told reporters in Ottawa that the F-35 decision was "an important step in making sure that we increase our capacity on the military side."
"Why? Because... the world changed on February 24th," she said in reference to the start of the Ukraine war.
Ottawa had earmarked Can$19 billion (US$15 billion) for the purchase six years ago, and Tassi indicated that negotiations with Lockheed Martin would now proceed to finalize the contract within the next seven months.
She said she expects "delivery of the aircraft as early as 2025."