Feds planning to push back delivery date for new fighter jets: sources

The Liberals had planned to buy 18 Super Hornets

Industry sources say the Trudeau government is preparing to push back the expected delivery date of a new fighter jet to replace Canada’s aging CF-18 fleet.

The Liberals said last year that they planned to start receiving new fighters in about five years, or around 2021, at which point the 30-year-old CF-18s would start being phased out.

But several sources tell The Canadian Press that defence officials don’t expect the first new plane to be delivered for another eight years, which would put the time frame around 2026.

The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, would not speculate on why the delivery schedule was being changed.

But the decision could have major financial implications if it means having to sink even more money into the CF-18s than the hundreds of millions already set aside to keep them flying into the next decade.

Some are also wondering whether the Liberals, who had promised to launch a formal fighter-jet competition before the 2019 election, now plan to hold off until after Canadians go to the polls.

News of the expected delay comes as the government is moving ahead on the purchase of used fighter jets from Australia instead of brand-new Super Hornets from Boeing to temporarily bolster Canada’s CF-18 fleet.

The Liberals had planned to buy 18 Super Hornets, at an estimated cost of $6 billion, until Boeing launched a trade dispute against Canadian rival Bombardier.

Australia’s F-18s are almost certain to be cheaper than Super Hornets, and easier to incorporate into the existing fleet, since they are almost identical to Canada’s own CF-18s.

But the used jets are 30 years old — the same vintage as the CF-18s — and will need significant upgrades to continue flying into the next decade.

The government is also wrestling with how best to sell Canadians on the idea of buying used fighter jets after the disaster that followed the purchase of second-hand British submarines in the 1990s.

Government and industry sources say there are concerns the decision will resurrect memories of the four subs Canada bought from the U.K., one of which caught fire while crossing the Atlantic, killing a naval officer.

The government has also been forced to sink billions into the vessels to address a multitude of technical problems over the years, which has kept them docked more often than they have been at sea.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

MVP of the Week: Finding inspiration on the ice

Samantha Wiley met legends of the women’s game and played in the Global Girl’s Game on March 11

Halibut quota down 15 per cent in B.C. with more restrictions coming

Recreational fishers on the North Coast face challenges to avoid another early halibut closure

Lax Kw’alaams takes the federal and provincial governments to court

The civil suit opposes the Oil Moratorium Act and the establishment of the Great Bear Rainforest

Prince Rupert Tribesmen win 2018 Junior All Native Basketball Tournament

The Tribesmen remained undefeated throughout the tournament

Prince Rupert’s cherry trees chopped

Contractors went to work on the cherry blossoms next to the DFO buildings on March 23

Heart of Our City: Nicholls and dimes

Accountant Bill Nicholls helps Rupert organizations get back on track

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Canadian cities hold March for our Lives events in wake of Florida shooting

Hundreds of people support the massive March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C.

Health officials called after acid spill near B.C.-Alberta border leaks into creek

Tanker truck crashed south of Dawson Creek, spilling 17,000 litres of hydrochloric acid

Embattled band Hedley plays last show in B.C. before hiatus

About 3,000 tickets had sold for final performance at Kelowna’s Prospera Place

Trudeau to exonerate B.C. First Nations chiefs hanged in 1860s

Prime Minister to absolve Tsilhqot’in chiefs in relation to deaths of 14 construction workers

Canucks sing the Blues as they fall to St. Louis 4-1

Berglund nets two, including the game-winner, to lift St. Louis over Vancouver

Calving season brings hope for Cariboo ranchers

Still a lot of work ahead to recover from the wildfires

Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond wins figure skating world title

The 22-year-old fwon the women’s singles crown with her Black Swan routine

Most Read