Canada still in F-35 plan

A senior official at the Department of National Defence says Canada will remain a member of the F-35 stealth fighter program until the government knows which jet it plans to buy to replace Canada's aging CF-18s.

That means Canada will continue to pay tens of millions of dollars over the next couple of years to help pay for development of the fighter jet even though it may end up buying something else.

DND's head of procurement, Patrick Finn, says staying on as one of nine partner countries makes sense so Canada can compete for billions of dollars in contracts associated with the F-35.

Partners also get a discount when purchasing the plane.

Canada has so far invested roughly half-a-billion dollars in the F-35 over the past 20 years, even as successive federal governments have wrestled with whether to buy the plane or not.

The Trudeau Liberals are scheduled to launch a competition to pick a new fighter jet this spring, a winner won't be identified for several more years.

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