Ottawa eyeing U.S.-made surveillance planes for Canadian Armed Forces

OTTAWA –

Canada is looking at buying a fleet of military surveillance aircraft from U.S. aerospace giant Boeing without a competition.

The federal Procurement Department says Canada has submitted a letter to the U.S. government asking for more information, including a price, for up to 16 P-8 Poseidon planes and associated equipment.

The department says the request follows discussions with industry and close allies about potential replacements for the Air Force’s aging CP-140 Auroras.

The department says those consultations identified the Poseidon as the only aircraft that could meet Canada’s requirements for a new surveillance aircraft.

The government says the query does not commit Canada to buying the American-made planes.

“The final decision will be based on the capability offered, availability, pricing and benefits to Canadian industry,” the department said in an unsigned statement released late Monday afternoon.

However, the federal government has announced a series of military purchases without a competition.

Those include Defence Minister Anita Anand’s announcement earlier this month that Canada will be fast-tracking the purchase of new anti-tank, anti-aircraft and anti-drone weapons for the Army.

Montreal-based aircraft maker Bombardier, which won a trade dispute with Boeing five years ago, has expressed interest in offering its own aircraft as a potential replacement to the Auroras.

That includes meetings with Anand and Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne.

“Canada has the opportunity to leverage its aerospace industry to provide a multi-mission aircraft that will be the standard for decades to come, at home and abroad as an export,” Bombardier spokesman Mark Masluch said in a statement.

“Bombardier has spoken with ministers Anand and Champagne, and eagerly awaits an answer on when and how we can present a bid, and a solution Canadians will be proud of for decades to come.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 27, 2023.

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