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Canada Plans to Buy F/A-18 Rather Than F-35 for Now: Report

The government of Canada plans to buy Boeing Co.-made Super Hornets rather than the Lockheed Martin Corp.-made F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, at least for now, according to a news article.

The National Post newspaper this week reported Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet officials "have made up their minds and are working on the right narrative to support it."

The cabinet apparently wants to purchase F/A-18E/F Super Hornets on an interim basis to replace a portion of the military's aging fleet of nearly 80 of the CF-18 Hornets to better meet rising national-security demands from NATO and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, a joint U.S.-Canada operation that defends the skies over both nations and monitors sea approaches.

Such a move, which comes after Canada already pledged to invest $400 million to upgrade the the CF-18 fleet, could delay a fighter competition for another decade or more, according to the article.

Thus, it would likely to be welcomed by Chicago-based Boeing, the world's largest aerospace company, and criticized by Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin Corp., the world's biggest defense contractor and maker of the Joint Strike Fighter.

In February, U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, the head of the Pentagon's F-35 program, sounded optimistic about international customers of the aircraft despite the uncertainty of Canada's commitment to buy 65 Joint Strike Fighters.

"Canada is still a partner in the program; they have not change their status," Bogdan said at the time. "What I believe will happen is that sometime this spring the government will decide to have a competition. I also believe that the F-35 will be part of that competition, but it's up to Canada to decide that.

"We clearly understand governments take time to make tough decisions like this," he added. "We're watching what happens and we will respond to the needs of Canada."

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