The federal government is expected to announce as early as Thursday that it has selected Boeing to replace the military's aging patrol planes in a multibillion-dollar deal, according to three sources familiar with the matter.
The decision to go with a sole-source contract would close the door on Quebec-based business jet maker Bombardier, which has been pushing for an open bid.
The sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, say that last week cabinet green-lit the purchase of 16 P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft to replace the half-century-old CP-140 Auroras.
They say the Treasury Board held a special meeting last night and approved the contract, which a U.S. agency has listed at $US5.9 billion.
The procurement department has stated that Boeing's off-the-shelf reconnaissance plane is the only one available that meets Royal Canadian Air Force requirements, particularly around submarine-hunting technology.
Bombardier has argued that its alternative — currently a prototype — would offer a cheaper and more high-tech aircraft that's made in Canada.