The Canadian government said Monday it expects initial F-35A deliveries to kick off in 2026 and anticipates the country’s air force to reach full operational capability of the fleet between 2032 and 2034.
The agreement covers the delivery of related equipment, sustainment setup and services and establishment of fighter squadron facilities in Cold Lake and Bagotville.
Canada is procuring the jets to help ensure national security, improve Arctic security and national sovereignty and meet its North American Aerospace Defense Command and NATO obligations.
The F-35 acquisition program marks the largest investment in the Royal Canadian Air Force in three decades and is expected to add $317 million annually to Canada’s gross domestic product and generate approximately 3,300 jobs over a period of 25 years.
Canada is one of the eight countries that invested in the development of the Joint Strike Fighter Program.
The government of Canada initiated an open competition for the fighter jet procurement program in 2017 and started soliciting offers in July 2019. The request for proposals closed in July 2020.