Airbus and UK withdraw from Canada’s future fighter jet project

3 September 2019 (Last Updated September 3rd, 2019 10:51)

Airbus and the UK Ministry of Defence (UK MoD) have pulled out of the competition to build and deliver Canada’s future fighter aircraft.

Airbus and UK withdraw from Canada’s future fighter jet project
British Royal Air Force (RAF) Eurofighter EF-2000 Typhoon F2 fighter aircraft flying through the Mach Loop. Credit: Chris Lofting.

Airbus and the UK Ministry of Defence (UK MoD) have pulled out of the competition to build and deliver Canada’s future fighter aircraft.

The Government of Canada issued a request for proposal (RFP) for the Future Fighter Capability Project (FFCP) in July to replace its ageing fleet of Boeing F/A-18 Hornet aircraft.

Airbus stated that the decision to withdraw from the fighter jet competition comes after a detailed review of the RFP.

In a press release issued on 30 August, Airbus stated that one of the reasons was that potential costs on the companies have become high due to North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) security requirements.

Additionally, the company stated that the revised industrial technological benefits (ITB) obligations provided in the RFP do not ‘sufficiently value the binding commitments the Typhoon Canada package was willing to make’.

Airbus was planning to offer the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet to Canada for its future aircraft requirement.

Airbus Defence and Space Canada president Simon Jacques said: “Airbus Defence and Space is proud of our longstanding partnership with the Government of Canada, and of serving our fifth home country’s aerospace priorities for over three decades.

“Together we continue in our focus of supporting the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces, growing skilled aerospace jobs across the country and spurring innovation in the Canadian aerospace sector.”

Other companies in the race for the FFCP project include Sweden’s Saab, and US firms Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

Canada Public Services and Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough was quoted by media sources as saying: “We understand that participation in this competition represents a significant commitment for suppliers, and we respect this business decision.

“We would like to thank the UK Government and Airbus Defence and Space for their participation and thoughtful feedback during this process.”

Earlier this year, the US Government warned that the Lockheed Martin-built F-35 fighter would not be part of the competition if certain changes were not made to the procurement process.

In response, Canada relaxed the rules of the competition to address the concerns.

The contract for the supply of 88 combat jets is expected to be valued between C$15bn ($11.25bn) and C$19bn ($14.25bn).