Bombardier Inc., the Montreal-based business jet maker, is confident that its patrol planes could offer competitive pricing compared to rival Boeing Inc., as a potential replacement for Canada’s aging military aircraft. Earlier this year, Bombardier partnered with General Dynamics to develop a surveillance aircraft equipped with submarine-hunting technology, and both companies are urging the Canadian government to initiate an open procurement process to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 14 Lockheed P-3 Orion (CP-140 Aurora) maritime patrol planes, which are set to retire in 2030 after decades of service. According to the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Boeing has proposed a price of US$5.9 billion for 16 P-8A Poseidons maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft and related equipment to be sold to Ottawa.
Bombardier’s Vice President of Public Affairs, Pierre Pyun, stated that the company can compete with this price, although Bombardier did not disclose its own pricing. Pyun emphasized that in order for Bombardier to provide a specific price, there would need to be a request for proposals and clear requirements outlined by the government. Public Services and Procurement Canada has stated that Boeing’s P-8s are currently the only available aircraft that meets all the operational requirements for Canadian Multi-Mission Aircraft (CMMA), particularly in intelligence gathering, surveillance, and anti-submarine warfare.
Bombardier’s proposed maritime patrol aircraft, a modified version of the Global 6500 business jet integrated with General Dynamics’ technology and sensors, currently exists only on paper. However, the manufacturer expects the aircraft to be ready by the early 2030s to align with the government’s needs. It is common for companies to receive contracts for products that are still in development, as governments and military services often require unique systems or radars for their aircraft. Bombardier has already engaged in discussions with Defense Minister Anita Anand and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne regarding their surveillance planes. The Canadian government is still considering its options for the multibillion-dollar contract.
Boeing disputed Bombardier’s claim that the Poseidons have reached the end of their service life. The company stated that there is still a strong demand for P-8 aircraft, with additional units being built for the U.S. Navy. Boeing emphasized that it will continue production as long as there is demand, and the planned service life extends the program to nearly 2050. Bombardier considers the letter of request for an offer on Poseidons, issued by the federal Procurement Department in February 2022, as equivalent to a sole-source bidding process. Some provincial leaders, including Quebec Premier François Legault and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, have urged their counterparts to discuss the patrol plane procurement at a meeting of provincial and territorial heads of government, advocating for Bombardier to have an opportunity to submit a proposal instead of going directly with Boeing.
The Bombardier Global Express is a large cabin, 6,000 nmi / 11,100 km range business jet designed and manufactured by Bombardier Aviation (formerly Bombardier Aerospace). Initially powered by two BMW/Rolls-Royce BR710s, it shares its fuselage cross section with the Canadair Regional Jet and Challenger 600 with a new wing and tail. The shorter range Global 5000 is slightly smaller and the Global 6000 is updated and has been modified for military missions. The longer range Global 5500/6500 are powered by new Rolls-Royce BR710 Pearl engines with lower fuel burn and were unveiled in May 2018. Bombardier announced the Global 6500 entry-into-service on 1 October 2019. In 2023, the Global 5500 lists for $47.4 million, while the Global 6500 lists for $58 million.
The Global 6500 aircraft has class-leading power for mission equipment, over 18 hours of endurance, proven reliability with class-leading maintenance intervals and ample cabin space for workstations and mission equipment. From the Bombardier Vision flight deck’s Combined Vision System to the industry’s first 4K-enabled cabin and leading-edge wing technology, the Global 6500 business jet is the height of innovative design, inside and out. All the space in a Global 6500 aircraft is useable in flight, including the baggage bay. The additional space can be used for mission equipment, transporting crew belongings or accessing an air operable door. The Global 6500 aircraft has the longest maintenance intervals versus its competitors. With their endurance, reliability and class-leading range, Bombardier Global 6500 jets are ideal for maritime surveillance.