The Trudeau Liberals may have promised to exclude the F-35 from the competition to replace the air force's aging CF-18 jet fighters, but federal officials meeting the day after last fall's election were singing a completely different tune, documents reveal.
Executives at Boeing, one of the leading contenders to replace Canada's aging fleet of fighter jets, says it believes the Trudeau government's emphasis on North American air defence will stand it in good stead once the competition is launched.
A U.S. defence and foreign affairs think-tank released a comprehensive report Tuesday suggesting the oft-maligned F-35 jet might not meet the performance standards of existing fighter planes, including Canada's CF-18s.
A long-awaited market analysis into which fighter jet could replace the CF-18s tells the Harper government it can postpone a decision and keep flying the existing planes until 2025, but that will cost roughly $400 million.
A leaked Pentagon briefing says Canada has signalled to Washington that it wants to buy at least four F-35 stealth fighters, but a spokesman for Public Works Minister Diane Finley insisted Friday that no decision has been made.
Federal officials sought to demonstrate Thursday how much work has been done to replace Canada's aging CF-18 jets, but say the details of the evaluation will be kept secret while cabinet weighs whether to continue with the oft-maligned F-35 program.