July 16, 2010 (by John R. Kent) - The Government of Canada announced plans to acquire the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II as the country's next-generation fighter aircraft. The F-35 will replace Canada's fleet of CF-18 Hornets that entered service in the early 1980s.
"We're very pleased with the decision and are committed to supporting the Government of Canada in moving forward with the F-35," said Tom Burbage, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and general manager of F-35 Program Integration.
"The Lightning II will help ensure Canada's national security, and also positions Canadian industry to immediately capture long-term work that will endure for the next 30 years."
The F-35 is a supersonic, multi-role, 5th generation stealth fighter developed and funded by a consortium of nine countries, including Canada. It is designed to excel in both air-to-air and air-to-ground operations and features the most comprehensive and powerful avionics of any fighter ever produced. Canada plans to acquire 65 F-35s to replace the CF-18 fleet that is currently in service. Delivery of Canada's F-35s will begin in 2016.
Three F-35 variants derived from a common design, developed together and using the same sustainment infrastructure worldwide, will replace at least 13 types of aircraft for 11 nations initially, making the Lightning II the most cost-effective fighter program in history.
Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE
Systems. Two separate, interchangeable F-35 engines are under development: the Pratt & Whitney F135 and the GE
Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team F136.