Trump may have given Canada (Trudeau) the excuse he needs to ditch the F-35 once and for all
May 6, 2019 - by DAVID PUGLIESE - ottawacitizen.com
The defence and aerospace industry is abuzz about the letters the U.S. government sent to Canada over the upcoming competition to acquire a new fleet of fighter jets to replace the RCAF's CF-18s.
In short, the Trump administration has given an ultimatum to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government. If Canada insists that industrial and technological benefits must come from the outlay of $19 billion for a new fighter jet fleet then Lockheed Martin's F-35 stealth jet is out of the race. Full stop.
The U.S. argument is that because Canada is a partner in the F-35 program it cannot ask Lockheed Martin to meet specific industrial benefits for a Canadian competition if the F-35 is selected. Under the F-35 agreement, partner nations are prohibited from imposing requirements for industrial benefits as the work is determined on the best value basis.
In other words, Canadian firms compete and if they are good enough they get work on the F-35 program. Over the last 12 years, Canadian firms have earned $1.3 billion U.S. for their work on building F-35 parts.
The U.S. had boldly stated it cannot offer the F-35 for the Canadian competition if there are requirements to meet for set industrial benefits.
But that ultimatum could seriously backfire on the Trump administration.
Airbus, a major player in Canada's aerospace industry, says it is open to producing its Eurofighter Typhoon in Canada with the corresponding jobs that will create.