Canada selects Lockheed Martin as preferred bidder for jets | Local company


OTTAWA — Canada will announce on Monday that Lockheed Martin Corp is the preferred bidder in a multibillion-dollar competition to supply 88 new fighter jets, an industry source familiar with the matter said.

The announcement means Ottawa will only have detailed discussions with the US company, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation. If these negotiations fail for any reason, the government will turn to Sweden’s Saab, the other competitor.

Canada is part of the consortium that developed Lockheed Martin’s F-35 jet, which defense sources say is the military’s first choice. Ottawa says the contract could be worth up to C$19 billion ($15.10 billion).

The move marks a turnaround for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who came to power in late November 2015 promising not to buy the F-35 on the grounds that it was too expensive.

This appeared to favor Boeing Co, but the US company fell out of favor with Ottawa after it filed a trade action against Canadian rival Bombardier Inc and was kicked out of the competition last December.

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A spokeswoman for Federal Purchasing Minister Anita Anand, in charge of the entire process, declined to comment. Lockheed Martin and Saab were not immediately available for comment.