Sweden's SAAB Undecided On Whether to Bid on Canada's Fighter-Jet Contract
... That change followed U.S. complaints...
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September 4, 2019 - by Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press for ctvnew.ca
- The new E version of the Swedish JAS 39 Gripen multi role fighter. It rolled out in 2016
OTTAWA -- Days after Airbus Defence and Space pulled out of the $19-billion race to replace Canada's aging fighter jets, the only European firm still eligible to compete says it has not decided whether it will.
Saab Canada president Simon Carroll says the Swedish firm is interested in entering its Gripen jet against its two remaining competitors, both of which are from the U.S.: Boeing's Super Hornet and Lockheed Martin's F-35.
However, Carroll told The Canadian Press on Tuesday that his company is still analyzing the competition's nitty-gritty details -- including a security requirement that forced out two other European jet-makers.
All bidders are required to explain by Sept. 20 how they plan to ensure their planes can integrate with the top-secret Canada-U.S. intelligence network known as "Two Eyes," which is used to co-ordinate the defence of North America.
But in announcing its withdrawal from the competition Friday, Airbus said meeting the requirement would place "too significant of a cost" on non-U.S. aircraft. French firm Dassault cited the same requirement when it pulled its Rafale jet in November.
"We are still looking at that security assessment side of things from the Two-Eyes perspective," Carroll said.
"We don't see any major issues with it as this point in time. Having said that, we're still reviewing everything through the whole (request for proposals) at this point in time and we will reserve the right to make our judgment on whether or not we provide a bid."
Airbus also raised concerns about changes to a long-standing policy that requires bidders on military contracts to legally commit to invest as much money in Canadian products and operations as they get out of contracts they win.
Bidders can now instead establish "industrial targets," lay out a plan for achieving those targets and sign non-binding agreements promising to make all efforts to achieve them. Such bids do suffer penalties when the bids are scored, but are not rejected outright.
That change followed U.S. complaints...
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