The Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, the Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence, and the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced that following an open, fair and transparent competition, Canada has finalized an agreement with the United States (US) government and Lockheed Martin with Pratt & Whitney for the acquisition of F-35 fighter jets for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). As outlined in Strong, Secure, Engaged, Canada has committed to purchase a new fleet of 88 advanced fighter jets for the RCAF, and today, the federal government announced that this new fleet will be comprised of F-35 jets. The first deliveries of these aircraft are anticipated to begin in 2026, and we anticipate that we will reach Full Operational Capability with our entire fleet between 2032 and 2034.
This is the largest investment in the RCAF in the past 30 years. The estimated investment for this project is $19 billion, which includes associated equipment, sustainment set-up and services, as well as the construction of Fighter Squadron Facilities in Bagotville and Cold Lake. As the rules-based international order is challenged around the world, the F-35 will be essential for protecting Canadians, enhancing Arctic security and national sovereignty, and enabling Canada to meet its NATO, NORAD and other obligations well into the future. The Government of Canada will continue to do whatever it takes to protect Canadians and make continued, significant investments to give the members of our Canadian Armed Forces the equipment that they need to do their jobs.
Canada is confident that the F-35 represents the best fighter jet for our country at the best price for Canadians. During the finalization phase of the procurement process, the US government and Lockheed Martin with Pratt & Whitney successfully demonstrated that an agreement to purchase the F-35 fighter jets meets Canada’s requirements and outcomes, including value for money, flexibility, protection against risks, performance and delivery assurances. This important agreement will deliver the most modern and advanced equipment, and ensure the protection of our country in the years to come.
This announcement is also excellent news for Canadian businesses and workers in the Canadian aerospace and defence sector. The acquisition and initial sustainment of the F-35 project has the potential to contribute over $425 million annually to Canada’s gross domestic product and close to 3,300 jobs annually for Canadian industry and value chain partners over a 25-year period (direct and indirect). In addition, there will be substantial investments made in National Defence infrastructure renewal at various bases across Canada that will include many Canadian construction and site maintenance companies. Canadian industry will also have significant sustainment opportunities related to the Canadian fleet. Opportunities are expected in areas such as airframe and engine depots, as well as in training and in maintenance of components over the life of the fleet.