Canada canceling purchase of new Boeing fighter jets

A pilot positions a CF-18 Hornet at the CFB Cold Lake in Cold Lake Alberta on Oct. 21 2014

Canada is scrapping a plan to buy 18 Boeing Co (BA.N) Super Hornet fighter jets amid a deepening dispute with the US aerospace company, three sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Three sources familiar with the matter told the news outlet that Canada will instead announce next week that it will purchase a used fleet of Australian F-18 jets, which Canada already operates.

Boeing's future military sales in Canada are in question after the US defense firm launched a trade challenge against Canadian planemaker Bombardier Inc.

Featured image courtesy of Wikipedia. The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) will likely purchase 28-30 used fighter planes from the Australian military, according to reports Tuesday. Boeing alleged that Bombardier was selling the planes at "absurdly low" prices, and the Department of Commerce imposed a preliminary 300 percent import duty on Bombardier's CS 100 planes.

A formation of U.S. Navy F-18E Super Hornets flies over northern Iraq, Sept. 23, 2014.

Canada had decided it needed Boeing's new Super Hornets to refresh its aging CF-18 Hornet fleet, but may have had a change of heart after the American manufacturer accused Canadian plane maker Bombardier of dumping in the commercial plane market. RCAF now operates an ageing fleet of CF-18 fighters, which is due for replacement sometime in the next decade.

The final ruling in the case is expected next year, but the relationship between Boeing and Canada has nosedived since.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the country "won't do business with a company that's busy trying to sue us and put our aerospace workers out of business".

The F/A-18 is a twin-engine, supersonic combat aircraft that can operate as a fighter or attack jet. "It would be a deeply unfortunate outcome", he said.

Although Canada will extend the lifespan of some CF-18s to 2025 to cover the introduction of the new fighters, Canadian Global Affairs Institute defense analyst David Perry on Wednesday predicted Ottawa would keep the old planes in service for longer than planned and drag out the competition. "It's not just the company but countries" that they're targeting, Bombardier chief executive officer Alain Bellemare said at an investors conference in Boston last month.

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