The Government of Canada, on July 23, has released formal Request for Proposals (RFPs) to four suppliers to procure 88 advanced fighter jets.
The RFPs were released following extensive engagement with industry and eligible suppliers over the past 18 months. The following suppliers have until spring 2020 to submit initial proposals to Canada:
+ Sweden — SAAB Aeronautics – Gripen
+ United Kingdom — Airbus Defense and Space GmbH (with MBDA UK Limited, L3 Technologies MAS and CAE Canada) – Eurofighter Typhoon
+ United States — Lockheed Martin (with Pratt and Whitney) – F-35 Lightning II
+ United States — The Boeing Company (with Peraton Canada Corp., CAE Inc., L3 Technologies MAS Inc., GE Canada and Raytheon Canada Limited Services and Support Division) – F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
The French Dassault team, offering Rafale, was also initially part of the suppliers list. On November 8, 2018, Dassault announced its decision to officially withdraw from the competition.
Canada will provide two opportunities for all bidders to demonstrate that they can present a plan to meet the country’s security and interoperability requirements. The security offer is due in fall 2019, and following feedback, bidders may revise and resubmit that offer as part of the initial proposal in spring 2020.
Bidders will also have an opportunity to address deficiencies in their proposals related to mandatory criteria. Rather than being rejected immediately for not meeting mandatory requirements, bidders will receive feedback from Canada so that they can address non-compliance. This approach has already been used for other large federal procurements and has proven to be successful in maintaining a high level of competition.
All bidders will be subject to the same evaluation criteria, and proposals will be rigorously assessed on elements of technical merit (60%), cost (20%) and economic benefits (20%). This procurement attributes one of the highest weightings to economic benefits for Canada in its history. All suppliers will be required to provide a plan for economic benefits equal to the value of their proposed contract, with maximum points only being awarded to suppliers who provide contractual guarantees.
The evaluation of proposals, including any revised proposals, is expected to result in identifying the selected bidder in early 2022, with the first aircraft delivery starting as early as 2025.
“The procurement of a fleet of 88 future fighter aircraft is an essential step forward that our government committed to in Strong, Secure, Engaged. This investment will mean that the Royal Canadian Air Force has what it needs to protect Canadians. It is essential that we get the right equipment that will serve our women and men in uniform for decades to come”, said Harjit S. Sajjan, the Minister of National Defence.
The new jets will replace RCAF’s current CF-18 jets.
Canada has entered into an agreement with the Government of Australia to procure 18 F/A-18 fighter aircraft and associated spare parts and equipment to supplement its current CF-18 fleet for an interim period. The government is also working to extend the existing fleet until the permanent replacement fleet is fully operational in 2032. On February 16, 2019 Canada received the first two fighter aircraft in Cold Lake, Alberta.