Canadian suppliers to the F-35 fighter jet program say they are "cautiously optimistic" by the government's commitment in the Throne Speech to replace the country's aging aircraft fleet, but warn that millions of dollars in jobs and opportunities are at risk if a decision drags on past this spring.
Canada's aerospace industry could lose about $10.5 billion worth of contracts over several decades if the federal government ultimately decides not to purchase the controversial F-35 Stealth Fighter, says a senior executive at Lockheed Martin.
The Harper government may have "hit the reset button" on the purchase of F-35s, but planning for the stealth fighter continues -- and Canada is facing a series of deadlines that will increase pressure to stick with the program.
One year after the Harper government committed to buying the F-35 fighter, defence planners overseeing the project expressed concern about how much it would cost to maintain the sophisticated jet once it arrived.
Lockheed Martin, the giant U.S. defence manufacturer, has kicked-off a cross-country public relations campaign to convince Canadians that its F-35 stealth fighter jets are the best option to replace Canada’s aging fleet of CF-18s.