Canada PM Trudeau shows doubts on F-35 fighter jet
OTTAWA, Canada — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed doubts Tuesday about the reliability of the US F-35 stealth fighter, as the government looks to replace its aging fleet of jets.
“For 10 years, the Conservatives completely missed the mark when it came time to deliver to Canadians and our military the equipment they need,” the Liberal prime minister said in parliament.
“They clung to a plane that does not work and is far from working.”
Canada had joined the United States and its allies in 1997 to develop the F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter, and later announced it would buy 65 of them for Can$44.8 billion.
But after coming under fire over its spiraling costs and an apparent lack of transparency and competition in the procurement process, the previous Conservative government widened its search for a new fighter jet.
Trudeau campaigned against the F-35 and after coming to power last November ordered a reopening of the bidding process, calling the F-35 buy a boondoggle.
This marked the second reboot in three years of the largest military procurement project in Canadian history.
On Monday, the National Post reported that Ottawa was looking to replace its F-18s, which have been flying since 1982, with Boeing’s Super Hornet.
Others in the running included the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Dassault Rafale and the Saab Grippen.
Public broadcaster CBC, meanwhile, said the Canadian government had recently missed a Can$32 million payment for its contribution to the development of the F-35.
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