OTTAWA, April 17 The Canadian government will take several more weeks to evaluate the options for the much-delayed replacement of its CF-18 fighter jets, Public Works Minister Diane Finley said on Thursday.
The decision boils down to whether to proceed with a single-source contract to Lockheed Martin Corp for 65 F-35 stealth fighters or to go with a tender that opens up the bidding to competitors.
The Conservative government ran into a storm of criticism over its decision in 2010 to go with the F-35s without an open tender. It froze that decision and has been talking to other aircraft makers as well.
"Over the next several weeks we will be carefully reviewing a number of reports relating to the evaluation of options, industrial benefits, costs and other factors related to the decision to replace our CF-18 fleet," Finley said in the prepared text of a speech she was giving in British Columbia. (Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Peter Galloway)