OTTAWA – Defence Minister Anita Anand says Canada is officially buying the F-35 fighter jet to replace its aging CF-18s, ending the years-long search where it first began.
Canada had announced plans to buy the F-35 back in 2010, before politics and government mismanagement scuttled that decision.
The government says Canada will ultimately buy 88 F-35s at an estimated cost of $19 billion, with the first aircraft to be delivered in 2026.
The Canadian Press reported last month that the Defence Department had been authorized to spend $7 billion on an initial set of 16 F-35s and associated gear.
Officials confirmed in a briefing today that Canada will buy all 88 F-35s in a phased approach, with the initial investment including infrastructure upgrades, spare parts and other one-time costs.
Canada is expected to pay US$85 million per F-35, which officials say is the same price as the United States.
The jets cost about $450 million each, but the total price includes weapons, spare parts, new facilities, and upgrades to computer networks.
Members of the Victoria Peace Coalition and the No Fighter Jets Coalition recently gathered in Victoria and Ottawa to protest the Canadian government’s plan to buy the jets.
The protesters argue that the money should be spent on human needs, such as education and addressing the climate emergency, instead of militarization.
The Canadian defence policy claims that the F-35s are necessary to counter threats and to work with allies.