Future fighter capability project
Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada's defence policy, announced in June 2017, reaffirmed the government's commitment to invest appropriately in Canada's military.
On December 12, 2017, the Government of Canada launched an open and transparent competition to permanently replace Canada’s fighter fleet with 88 advanced jets. This is the most significant investment in the Royal Canadian Air Force in more than 30 years, and is essential for protecting the safety and security of Canadians and meeting international obligations.
The Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy will apply to this procurement, requiring the winning supplier to make investments in Canada equal to the value of the contract. The objective of the policy is to maximize opportunities for Canadian companies, support innovation through research and development, and grow export opportunities from Canada.
Until permanent replacement aircraft are in place and fully operational, Canada must ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces has the equipment it needs to continue to meet its obligations, and Canada has entered into an agreement with the Government of Australia to procure 18 F/A-18 fighter aircraft and associated spare parts and equipment to supplement its current CF-18 fleet for an interim period. The government is also working to extend the existing fleet until the permanent replacement fleet is fully operational in 2032. On February 16, 2019 Canada received the first 2 fighter aircraft in Cold Lake, Alberta.
The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that the Canadian aerospace and defence industries, commercial suppliers and foreign governments in allied and partner countries are consulted and engaged in this process, and that they are well-positioned to participate.
Canada held a Future Fighter Industry Day on January 22, 2018, in Ottawa. The objective of this event was to share information with industry and stakeholders as well as to present foreign governments and industry with the information required for them to make an informed decision about responding to the Suppliers List invitation. In addition, the event provided an opportunity for Canadian industry to network with foreign governments and fighter aircraft manufacturers.
The event, which provided information on how Canada plans to buy new jets for its military, was well received and well attended, with over 200 participants from more than 80 companies and seven countries taking part.
You can access the associated agenda and a copy of the opening remarks, from this Industry Day event. To access the Industry Day presentations, see the Suppliers List Invitation.
List of Eligible Suppliers
In February 2018, Canada established a list of Suppliers eligible to meet Canada’s needs, as defined in the Suppliers List Invitation.
The list of eligible Suppliers includes the following teams (in alphabetical order):
- Sweden—SAAB AB (publ)—Aeronautics
- United Kingdom and Northern Ireland—Airbus Defense and Space GmbH (with MBDA UK Limited, L3 Technologies MAS and CAE Canada)
- United States—Lockheed Martin Corporation (Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company) (with Pratt and Whitney)
- United States—The Boeing Company
Only the above Supplier teams are currently eligible to participate in formal engagement activities and submit proposals under the Future Fighter competitive procurement process.
A France-Dassault team was part of the Supplier List when announced in February. On November 8, 2018, the team informed Canada of its decision to officially withdraw from the competition. France-Dassault is therefore no longer an eligible Supplier in the competitive process, and will not be invited to submit a proposal to Canada.
Future Fighter Capability—Formal Supplier Engagement
Formal Supplier engagement activities were conducted from March 26 to April 11 and from June 11 to July 5, 2018. During this period, representatives of the Government of Canada engaged with eligible Suppliers to share and obtain initial feedback on Canada’s requirements and notional procurement approach for this competition.
Canada met with each Supplier to discuss aircraft system engineering, sustainment infrastructure, economic benefits to Canada and procurement approach.
As a follow-up to engagement with eligible Suppliers, Canada shared with them a Preliminary Security Requirements document. This document provides eligible Suppliers with insight into some of Canada’s security and interoperability requirements before the final Request for Proposals is released in spring 2019.
On October 26, 2018, Canada achieved yet another milestone toward replacing Canada’s fighter fleet, with the release of the draft Request for Proposals to eligible Suppliers for their review and feedback. Suppliers had until December 21, 2018, to provide their feedback to Canada. The feedback received will be considered to finalize the formal Request for Proposals.
The entire process is being reviewed by both an independent fairness monitor and an independent third-party reviewer.
Ensuring suppliers have an opportunity to provide input is critical to the overall success of this procurement and for selecting the right fighter aircraft to meet Canada’s needs, while leveraging economic benefits for Canada.
The government is working diligently to ensure this open and transparent competitive process remains on schedule.
Parallel consultations with Canadian industry and other stakeholders
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada can help support Canadian industry and stakeholders to explore potential partnership opportunities with prime contractors. Click on the following link, for more information resources available for Canadian industry.
From April 23 to May 1, 2018, Innovation, Science and Economic Development in concert with the Department of National Defence, Public Services and Procurement Canada and Canada’s Regional Development Agencies, conducted 6 Regional Forums across the country to position Canadian industry for this once in a generation opportunity.
These forums were an opportunity for Canadian industry and other stakeholders to learn more about the Future Fighter Capability Project, provide feedback on Canada’s approach for economic benefits, and engage with Government of Canada officials and potential prime contractors. In total, representatives from more than 250 Canadian companies and 50 universities and research institutions participated. Click on the following link for access to the presentations on Buyandsell.
Sustainment of the future fighters is a significant area of focus which is expected to provide many high value opportunities for Canadian firms. As such, Canada sought feedback through a Letter of Interest to better understand to what extent activities not assigned to National Defence can be delivered by Canadian industry, in concert with the successful Supplier.
As follow-on to the release of the draft Request for Proposals, Canada is currently developing a consultation plan that will entail further opportunities to engage with Government of Canada officials. This will ensure Canadian industry and other stakeholders remain well-informed following this important milestone.
Contract awarded for independent third-party expert reviewer
On August 3, 2018, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP was awarded a contract to conduct independent third-party expert reviews and to validate various procurement documents and processes relating to the Future Fighter Capability Project (FFCP). The goal is to ensure independent review and validation of the products and processes, to provide timely and objective assessment of the approach and methodology that is being used to support the procurement process. The contract ends in March 2022.
Evaluation of proposals for the permanent capability
Proposals will be rigorously assessed on elements of cost, technical requirements and economic benefits. The evaluation will also include an assessment of bidders’ impact on Canada’s economic interests.
Engagement with stakeholders and industry on the criteria, as well as guidelines for its application as an ongoing procurement tool for major projects, are being conducted through separate consultation. Officials have already met with aerospace and defence industry associations and will continue to engage with various stakeholders on further refining this criteria over the coming months.
All Suppliers will be subject to the same evaluation criteria.
- Formal engagement with eligible Suppliers—spring 2018 to spring 2019
- Canada invites eligible Suppliers for a firsthand look at existing fighter operations and infrastructure of its main operating bases (MOBs)—winter 2018-2019
- A revised draft of the Request for Proposals is expected to be shared with eligible Suppliers for final comments, prior to formal release in spring 2019.
- Formal solicitation of proposals—released to eligible Suppliers in spring 2019
- Eligible Suppliers provide initial proposals to Canada—winter 2019-2020
- Evaluation of proposals and required negotiations—2020-2021
- A contract award is anticipated in 2021 to 2022
- First replacement aircraft delivered in 2025
Frequently asked questions
Competitive procurement process
1. How long will the competition take and when will a contract be awarded?
- This competition requires extensive planning and stakeholder and industry engagement
- We need to get this right and we will ensure the Canadian aerospace and defence industries are consulted in this process so that they are well-positioned to participate
- A contract award is anticipated in 2021 to 2022, with the first replacement aircraft delivered in 2025
- The current estimated schedule to complete this process is consistent with competitions led by allied and partner countries for replacing their fighter fleets
2. Why are you using a Suppliers List?
- This is aimed at ensuring Canada works with foreign governments that are operators of fighter aircraft and meet Canada's needs for sharing defence information with commercial manufacturers currently producing fighter aircraft
- As fighter aircraft and their component systems are sensitive, heavily controlled goods, defence material cooperation arrangements must be in place between countries discussing their potential sale
- Also, the aircraft manufacturer must currently have an aircraft in production that meets Canada's requirements as indicated in the Suppliers List invitation
3. Can new teams be added or removed from the eligible Suppliers List, now that it has been established?
- The eligible Suppliers List was established in February 2018 and revised in November 2018
- While no new Supplier team can be added to this list, an eligible Supplier team can add or remove an entity from its team at any time in the manner described in the Suppliers List invitation, and at Canada's discretion
- A Supplier team may withdraw from the list at any time, by notifying Canada in writing
- Canada reserves the right to remove any team or entity at any time, if it presents potential, perceived or real issues that could threaten Canada's national security
- A new Supplier team may request to be added to the List, however they will not be added to the above noted eligible Suppliers and therefore will not be invited to participate in the formal engagement or to submit a proposal under the Future Fighter competitive procurement process
- The Suppliers List Invitation on Buyandsell.gc.ca will remain open until such time as Canada no longer considers it to be required
4. Why did Canada revise the list of eligible Suppliers?
- In February 2018, the French Government and Dassault Aviation qualified as an eligible Supplier team
- On November 8, 2018, the France-Dassault team informed Canada of its decision to officially withdraw from the competition
- As of this date, France-Dassault is no longer an eligible Supplier in the competitive process, and will not be invited to submit a proposal to Canada
5. How can Canadian industry participate in the competition?
- We will take the time necessary to engage with the Canadian aerospace and defence sectors to ensure they are informed and well-positioned to participate
- The Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy will apply to this procurement, requiring the winning Supplier to make investments in Canada equal to the value of the contract
- Eligible Suppliers on the list will be motivated to form partnerships with Canadian industry and post-secondary institutions over the coming months in order to develop a strong Value Proposition
- The Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) and the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) are involved in supporting engagement of Canadian industry and interactions with foreign government representatives
- Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada can also help establish partnering opportunities between foreign governments and Canadian industry
- From April to May 2018, Canada held a series of regional forums across Canada in which over 250 Canadian companies and over 50 research institutions participated
- Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada is exploring further opportunities to ensure Canadian industry is well informed on this important procurement as it moves forward
6. Does this procurement include industry engagement and discussions related to Industrial and Technological Benefits for Canada?
- The Government's Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy will apply to this procurement, requiring contractors to make investments in Canada equal to the value of the contract
- The Government is engaging with fighter aircraft manufacturers and Canadian industry towards the development of a Value Proposition that will support the long-term growth of Canada's aerospace and defence sectors
- This includes promoting growth and innovation of Canadian industry through investments in research and development, providing supplier and skills development opportunities, especially for small and medium-sized businesses and providing export opportunities for Canadian firms
- Canada will take the time needed to engage industry stakeholders to gather and share general information related to this procurement. This will ensure the Canadian aerospace and defence industries are well-positioned to participate
7. How will the government ensure that no aircraft supplier has an unfair advantage during the competition?
- The government is committed to conducting an open and transparent competition to replace Canada's fighter aircraft
- This process is overseen by an independent fairness monitor to ensure a level playing field for all suppliers
- All proposals will be evaluated according to the same evaluation criteria
8. How will Canada evaluate proposals for the future fighter capability?
- Proposals will be rigorously assessed on cost, technical requirements and economic benefits
- The evaluation will also include an assessment of bidders' impact to Canada's economic interests.
9. Why are you assessing impact on Canada's economic interests?
- We are continuously looking for ways to enhance our procurement processes and improve outcomes for Canadians
- Procurements are about forming effective and long-term partnerships and we want to ensure that we are doing business with suppliers whose activities align with Canada's economic interests
10. Will the economic impact assessment be developed as part of the future fighter capability consultations?
- No. Consultations on how Canada will assess bidders' impact on its economic interests will not be conducted through engagement activities for the future fighter capability
- The new criteria as well as the guidelines for its application as an ongoing procurement tool, are being developed through separate consultations
- This approach is consistent with Minister Qualtrough's Mandate Letter, which outlines direction to modernize procurement practices to support our economic policy goals, among other objectives
Supplementing the Existing Fleet
11. What is Canada doing to ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces has the equipment it needs while the competition is underway?
- Until permanent replacement aircraft are in place and fully operational, Canada must ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces has the equipment it needs to continue to deliver its missions, and meet its international obligations
- On November 9, 2018, Canada signed an agreement for the purchase of 18 F/A-18 fighter aircraft and associated spare parts and equipment from Australia
- Under the same agreement, Canada may also acquire up to seven additional non-flyable fighter aircraft that can be used for testing, training aids, or to be broken down for spare parts
- Along with additional investments in our existing CF-18 fleet, this purchase will help ensure the Royal Canadian Air Force can continue to deliver its missions and meet its international obligations
12. Will buying these F/A-18 aircraft require changes to Canada's existing infrastructure?
- Department of National Defence is planning some infrastructure work as part of this project to free-up hangar space in Cold Lake for the additional aircraft
- Projects underway at Bagotville will also provide the necessary infrastructure required to accommodate the additional aircraft
13. How can you be confident these planes will be reliable, safe and effective?
- Ensuring the safety and security of our women and men in uniform is our top priority
- Australia and Canada have both made significant investments in the development of structural modifications that have allowed the structural life of their respective F-18s to be extended
- Canadian companies have the experience required, and are already performing most of the maintenance work on our existing fleet. Any supplemental aircraft would be maintained through these existing arrangements
- Just as we do with our current fleet, we will make necessary investments in these aircraft to ensure they meet all requirements of the Royal Canadian Air Force
14. When does the Government of Canada expect to take possession of its first Australian fighters?
- On February 16, 2019 Canada took delivery of the first two RAAF F/A-18 aircraft
- Technical work will begin immediately, to modify these aircraft to a similar configuration to Canada’s CF-18 aircraft, so that they can be quickly integrated to the existing fleet
- The remaining 16 aircraft are to be transferred to Canada by end of 2021, with all deliveries of spares and equipment completed by 2022
- First Interim Fighter Jets Arrive in Cold Lake (February 17, 2019)
- Minister Qualtrough announces upcoming release of draft Request for Proposals during her remarks at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute's Annual Defence Procurement Conference (October 25, 2018)
- Positioning Canadian industry for a once-in-a-generation opportunity (May 16, 2018)
- Canada Releases List of Eligible Future Fighter Suppliers (February 22, 2018)
- Government of Canada Hosts Future Fighter Industry Day in Ottawa (January 22, 2018)
- Government launches open and transparent competition to replace Canada’s fighter aircraft (December 12, 2017)
- Canada announces plan to replace fighter jet fleet (November 22, 2016)
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