The Canadian government is downplaying a report that it has decided to purchase Boeing Co.’s F/A-18 Super Hornets as a stopgap replacement for its aging fighter jets.
The Ottawa Citizen newspaper, citing unidentified officials, said Canada would buy an unspecified number of Super Hornets in the short-term to replace CF-18 jets that are nearing the end of their life cycle.
A spokeswoman for Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan said Monday the government hasn’t made any decision on fighter-jet procurement and “any suggestion to the contrary is incorrect.”
Canada is nonetheless still “faced with an unacceptable capability gap when it comes to our fighter jets,” spokeswoman Jordan Owens said by e-mail, declining to indicate a timeline for a procurement decision. “We’ve made very clear commitments to replace the CF-18s with an aircraft that matches Canada’s defense needs. Those commitments remain firm.”
Government lawmaker John McKay had said that Canada is nearing a decision on fighter jets. “Hopefully we’ll have a decision soon,” McKay -- who serves as Sajjan’s parliamentary secretary -- told the Ottawa legislature earlier Monday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who took power in November, campaigned on abandoning plans to buy Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 jets. He intended to consult U.S. President Barack Obama before restarting the bid process, according to an official familiar with the plans.