FromAFP: Canada on Friday unveiled its most expensive military purchase ever — a multi-billion dollar deal to buy 65 Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets to replace its ageing squadron.
The Joint Strike Fighter jets, developed by Lockheed Martin in a multinational effort that included Canada, the United States and Britain, will cost nine billion Canadian dollars (8.5 billion US), Defense Minister Peter MacKay said.
The purchase will reportedly occur in tandem with plans by the US government to buy 2,443 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II jets.
With delivery of the F-35s set to start in 2016, Mackay said Canada’s next generation fighter jets needed to be "interoperable" with US and NATO aircraft to better fight "shoulder to shoulder with our allies."
The Netherlands, Italy, Turkey, Denmark, Norway, and Australia are also partners in the fifth generation F-35 program, and Mackay said: "A large number of our allies are moving to purchase this same aircraft." (photo: Reuters)