Newspaper article The Canadian Press

F-35-Maker Signs Deal with CAE in Anticipation of Canadian Program Resuming

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

F-35-Maker Signs Deal with CAE in Anticipation of Canadian Program Resuming

Article excerpt

F-35 maker signs deal with CAE for simulators

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OTTAWA - The U.S. manufacturer of the oft-maligned F-35 has signed a deal with a leading Canadian maker of flight simulators in anticipation of the Harper government choosing to stick with the controversial stealth fighter program.

The agreement between Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and CAE (TSX:CAE) was reached Monday at the Paris Air Show and announced as associate defence minister Kerry-Lynne Findlay was telling the House of Commons that no decision has been made on replacing the existing fleet of CF-18s.

It immediately caught the interest of defence analysts, who say the U.S. giant is moving to hedge its bets as the decision on whether there will be a full-blown competition gets closer.

The memorandum between the two defence contractors would see CAE deliver training system support and services in Canada.

"Canadian industry has played an integral part in the development and production of the F-35 for more than a decade,"Steve O'Bryan, a Lockheed Martin vice-president, said in a written statement.

"Canada's industrial contribution to this program has truly just begun. The new alliance we established today is indicative of the long-term role Canadian industry will hold in the global sustainment of the F-35 fleet for the next 30 years and beyond, and directly supports the evolution of training systems, one of the key industrial capabilities recently promoted by the government of Canada."

The government has the multi-billion-dollar F-35 program on hold while it looks at alternative jets following a scathing report on the planned purchase by auditor general Michael Ferguson.

Ferguson's report, released in April of last year, accused the National Defence and Public Works departments of failing to do their homework on the stealth purchase, and understating the eventual cost.

The Conservative government has taken pains to emphasize that it is looking at other aircraft as part of its options analysis of what should replace the CF-18s. …

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