Replacing Canada’s CF-18s – Just the Facts

The National Fighter Procurement Secretariat is primarily responsible for the review, oversight, and coordination of the implementation of the Government’s seven-point action plan. The action plan will ensure that the Royal Canadian Air Force acquires the fighter aircraft it needs to complete the missions asked of it by the Government, and that Parliament and the Canadian public have confidence in the open and transparent acquisition process that will be used to replace the CF-18 fleet.

The National Fighter Procurement Secretariat released on December 12, 2012 a series of documents about its work to date.

Some in the media have incorrectly reported on some aspects of the replacement of Canada’s CF-18s. Here are the facts:

Myth 1: Costs have risen from $9 billion to $45 billion.

Fact 1: Our government has set a $9 billion budget for the purchase of new fighter aircraft. This amount is for the purchase of new aircraft and will not change. The remaining costs are the long-term costs associated with owning and flying these planes, such as maintenance, fuel and salaries. These costs are now presented over 42 years, as compared to 20 years previously. It goes without saying that the dollar figure for operating and sustainment costs for more years will be proportionately higher.


Myth 2: The Auditor General’s report increased the costs from $16 billion to $25 billion

Fact 2: The Auditor General recommended that operating costs be included in the total lifecycle cost estimates, resulting in the apparent “increase”. This is not new money as DND currently spends this money for our CF-18 fleet. These costs are currently being incurred by our fleet of CF-18s and will be incurred by whichever aircraft is chosen to replace the current fleet.


Myth 3: The review of options is a competition.

Fact 3: We have a seven point plan that has reset the process to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s. As part of that plan, we have released the rules that will guide the review of alternative fighter aircraft. No decision on a replacement will be made until that work is complete.


Myth 4: Costs are rising, so $9 billion will not be enough to pay for these aircraft.

Fact 4: We have identified $9 billion for the purchase of replacement aircraft. We will not exceed that amount.


Myth 5: Canada is leaving the Joint Strike Fighter development program.

Fact 5: Canada will not end Canadian industrial access to F-35 contracts before the Seven Point Plan is complete and a decision on the replacement of Canada’s CF-18s has been made.


Myth 6: The government did not follow the rules when it released costs over 20 years.

Fact 6: Previously lifecycle costing was done over 20 years, consistent with long-held practices for this type of acquisition. The Auditor General recommended extending that time frame to cover the complete costs over the full life cycle; we complied by adopting the aircraft’s entire program life of 42 years.


Myth 7: The options analysis will find that the F-35 is the only viable option because it is the only plane that meets the Statement of Requirements.

Fact: 7: The original mandatory requirements for this purchase (known as the Statement of Requirements) have been set-aside. Once the options analysis is complete, a determination will be made as to whether a new statement is necessary.


Myth 8: Canadian companies have only received benefits equal to 1% of the total cost of the contract.

Fact 8: Over 70 Canadian companies have won nearly $450 million in contracts already. We believe our world leading aerospace industry will be able to continue to compete for and win contracts in the global marketplace.


For more information on the National Fighter Procurement Secretariat and answers to frequently asked questions on replacement of Canada’s CF-18s please visit:


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