Canada Chooses F-35A Lightning For Its Future Fighter Capability Project


Canada has chosen the Lockheed Martin F-35A to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) fleet of CF-188 Hornets, eschewing Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet in the selection process. Other contenders for the Future Fighter Capability Project (FFCP) included the Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and the Saab Gripen, which was the last competitor to fall in favor of the F-35A.

Canada expects to acquire 88 F-35As, with the first deliveries—enough to equip at least one squadron—scheduled in 2025. Canada is among eight nations that are Tier 3 industrial partners on the F-35 program, having signed on to join the original development program in 1997. Canada’s aerospace and defense industries represent key links in the global defense supply chain.

Canada’s minister for national defense, Anita Anand, said as part of the March 28 announcement, “This procurement project for the RCAF; the largest in over three decades; will help ensure Canada can continue to defend North America, enhance our Arctic sovereignty and meet our NATO and NORAD obligations in the face of current and emerging threats. Canadians can be confident that this competitive process will deliver the best results for our Canadian Armed Forces for decades to come.”

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Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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    • One thing I learned researching articles on fighters (F/A-18 and Rafale for Air & Space) is that “range” is not the same animal for combat aircraft as we think of with aircraft used for travel. Mission planners routinely strategize sorties with aerial refueling as part of the matrix – sometimes multiple top-offs on the fly (so to speak). Aerial refueling provides mission flexibility that’s just not on any civilian pilot’s dance card. And now with the advent of unmanned tankers, the game becomes even more interesting.

      • In an offensive role, yea, you can stage refueling in pre-determined locations. By this is national defense and when these fly to intercept then they are too slow, too short ranged…..and too few.