Friday, July 16, 2010

Canada to buy 65 F-35 jet fighters

Canada will buy 65 new fighter jets from Lockheed Martin Corp for C$9 billion ($8.6 billion), one of the biggest arms deals in the nation's history, Defense Minister Peter MacKay said on Friday.

The first of the new generation Joint Strike Fighters will be delivered in 2016. The F-35s are designed to replace Canada's CF-18s, which are scheduled to reach the end of their working lives in about 2020.

MacKay brushed off criticism from opposition legislators who say the planes are too expensive and who question why Lockheed Martin received a sole-source contract.

"This is the best aircraft we can provide our men and women in uniform ... This is one of the largest defense procurement projects in Canadian history," MacKay told a news conference.


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