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As we approach the finish line of Canada’s Future Fighter Capability Project, the competitive process to replace the legacy CF-18, proposals are the best fit for Canada and the Royal Canadian Air Force. With capability, affordability, and economic benefits to Canada playing unequal, but important roles in the process, Canada must make the right decision to ensure the RCAF can continue to deliver on a proud tradition of excellence in tactical fighter capability — today, and well into the future. But after years of covering this story, a common-sense solution has emerged; we can no longer afford the Lockheed Martin F-35. Allow me to explain. The last defense review — Strong, Secure, Engaged — determined Canada needed more fighter aircraft to protect its sovereignty and deliver on its defense partnership agreements than initially projected. That number grew from 65 to 88 fighters, and Canada’s current competitive fighter replacement process must deliver this quantity of aircraft as a mandatory requirement. This is the point where the Lockheed Martin F-35 option could fall out of contention. Depending on source, it will cost $36,000 per hour to operate the F-35.

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