The Government of Canada has received three bids for the multi-billion Future Fighter Capability Project that seeks to procure 88 advanced fighter jets.

In response to the formal request for proposals released last year, US-based firms Lockheed Martin and Boeing, and Swedish firm Saab submitted their bids.

The contest is expected to be between Lockheed’s F-35, Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet Block III and Saab’s Gripen E.

The government will now assess the proposals on elements of capability (60%), cost (20%) and economic benefits (20%).

The initial evaluation is expected to complete in early 2021, following which, Canada may choose to enter talks with bidders to request revised proposals.

Agreements with the preferred bidder are expected to be finalised in 2022, while the first aircraft is expected to be delivered as early as 2025.

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Canadian Minister of National Defence Harjit S Sajjan said: “Through our fully costed and funded defence policy, ‘Strong, Secure, Engaged’, our government committed to purchasing a full fleet of 88 aircraft to be able to meet our NORAD and Nato obligations simultaneously.

“Efficient and modern fighter jets are an integral part of any air force and we continue to work diligently to make sure that we provide the members of the Royal Canadian Air Force the tools they need to protect Canada, both at home and abroad.”

The new jets will replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) existing fleet of CF-18 fighter jets.