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F-35 consortium agreement never seen as commitment to buy: Sajjan

By Tim Naumetz      

The feds could either hold a competition, as Trudeau promised in the election campaign, or acquire more modern versions of the Boeing CF-18 without inviting other bids, says Prof. Byers.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, pictured last month at the CANSEC military equipment trade show in Ottawa, says none of the original members of the Joint Strike Fighter Consortium are required to buy any F-35s. The Hill Times photograph by Jake Wright

A 2002 agreement Canada signed with the U.S. and seven other countries for development of the F-35 stealth warplane was never viewed by the partners as "a commitment to buy the F-35," Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan's office told The Hill Times. Meanwhile, a leading expert on military affairs said the Liberal government could make good on its 2015 election promise to exclude the F-35 stealth attack plane as it wrestles with the need to replace Canada’s aging CF-18

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