Canada expects the first F-35s to be delivered in 2026 and for the fleet to be fully operational between 2032 and 2034, Defense Minister Anita Anand told a news conference.
The F-35 “is the most advanced fighter on the market and it is the right aircraft for our country,” Anand told reporters, adding the purchase and maintenance could contribute over C$425 million annually to the Canadian economy and close to 3,300 jobs annually. Anand said it was the largest investment in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 30 years.
Ottawa has been trying for more than a decade to replace its fleet of Boeing Co (BA.N) CF-18 fighters, some of which are more than 40 years old. A switch in governments, rule changes for the aircraft procurement process, as well as challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic triggered delays.