Canada cancels Boeing fighter jet order amid trade spat

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The new F/A-18 fighter jets would have been a temporary measure for Canada, to allow the country to meet its commitments to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

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 federal government will officially punish Boeing Co. for its trade dispute against Canada's Bombardier Inc., replacing the planned order of 18 new Boeing jets with the purchase of up to 30 second-hand fighters from the Australian military, sources said.

Canada was looking to buy the Boeing aircraft as a placeholder for its fleet until a competition in 2019 to replace its ageing CF-18 jets.

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The offices of Public Works Minister Carla Qualtrough and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, who share responsibility for military procurement in Canada, both declined to comment.

In addition, industry sources said it remains an open question whether Ottawa will be saving money by buying second-hand Australian jets that are almost as old as Canada's CF-18s.

In the meantime, government and industry sources say the Liberals have settled on buying Australia's used jets from Australia.

The Canadian government has canceled a planned fighter-jet purchase from Seattle-based Boeing, apparently in retaliation for a trade dispute with the Trump administration, the Reuters news service reported Tuesday.

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The Australian plan does have its advantages.

Government and industry sources said the Australia deal will be announced as early as next week, with the Royal Canadian Air Force needing 28 to 30 used F/A-18 fighter jets to meet its global commitments. They would supplement Canada's existing CF-18 fleet until a new aircraft could be acquired.

Billions of dollars have also been sunk into the vessels over the years to address a multitude of technical problems, which has kept them docked more often than they have been at sea.

"We've proven to be very good, out of necessity, at keeping them flying for quite some period of time, whereas the Upholder class of submarines were totally unique".

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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.

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