Newspaper article The Canadian Press

State Approves Sale of 'Interim' Super Hornets, Estimates Cost at US5.23B

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

State Approves Sale of 'Interim' Super Hornets, Estimates Cost at US5.23B

Article excerpt

Super Hornets could cost US$5.23B: State Dept

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OTTAWA - The U.S. State Department has told Congress that it doesn't have any concerns about the possible sale of 18 Super Hornet fighter jets to Canada, which it estimates will cost around US$5.23 billion.

The price tag includes weapons, spare parts, training, software and other costs associated with putting the jets into service, but not upgrades to hangars or long-term support and maintenance.

The figure, which works out to around CAD$6.37 billion at current exchange rates, is contained in a formal notification to Congress published Tuesday.

Such notifications are legally required before the U.S. can sell military gear to another country. Congress now has 15 days to review the potential deal and if no objections are raised, it is considered approved.

But even if Congress doesn't object, there are no guarantees the Trudeau government will buy the Super Hornets, which the Liberals said last year were needed to shore up Canada's aging CF-18 fleet.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan's office said the Liberals won't decide whether to buy the jets until later in the fall, when it receives a formal proposal from the U.S. government.

"At that time we will be better positioned to assess how we can best meet the Royal Canadian Air Force's needs," spokeswoman Jordan Owens said in an email.

But the Liberals have also linked the deal to a bitter trade dispute between Boeing Co., which makes the Super Hornets, and Montreal-based Bombardier.

The State Department notification said selling Super Hornets to Canada could help the U.S. by helping "a NATO ally which has been, and continues to be, a key democratic partner ... in ensuring peace and security."

It would also "improve Canada's capability to meet current and future warfare threats and provide greater security for its critical infrastructure," the notification added. …

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