* Canada initially chose F-35 jets, then backtracked
* Canada says will spend C$9 billion on jets
* Canada talking to Lockheed, Boeing, three European firms
OTTAWA, Jan 25 Canada is reaching out to five
aircraft manufacturers to replace the country's aging fleet of
CF-18 jets, renewing an effort that has been drawn-out and
Canada announced in 2010 it would give a single source
contract to Lockheed-Martin Corp for 65 F-35 jets but
later reversed course as cost estimates soared.
Ottawa has set aside C$9 billion ($8.9 billion) to buy the
The public works ministry, confirming earlier leaks from
senior government officials, said in a statement on Friday that
Ottawa would talk to Lockheed Martin and four other companies:
- Boeing Co, which makes the F-18 Super Hornet
- EADS, which makes the Eurofighter
- Saab AB, which makes the Gripen
- Dassault Aviation, which makes the Rafale
The ministry said it would send a questionnaire to the five
seeking detailed information on the technical capabilities of
fighter aircraft in production or scheduled to be in production.
Once the companies have replied they will be sent another
questionnaire seeking detailed cost estimates.
The government last year tore up its plan to buy the F-35s
after a spending watchdog said officials had deliberately
downplayed the costs and risks of doing so.
Ottawa says it could still eventually decide to buy the
F-35, which has been hit by cost overruns and delays.
More details of the government's plan to find new jets can
be found at