WASHINGTON, DC --- The Honourable Julian Fantino, Canada's Associate Minister of National Defence, received his latest update regarding the continued progress of the multinational Joint Strike Fighter Program during a successful meeting with program partners.
"The Royal Canadian Air Force plays an important role in protecting our sovereignty, and defending our interests at home and abroad," said Minister Fantino. "Canada's CF-18s are nearing the end of their usable lives, and we will ensure Canada's Air Force is properly equipped for the job we ask of them."
Canada's involvement in the Joint Strike Fighter Program began in 1997. The Government of Canada regularly receives updates and participates in routine discussions with our allies regarding the developmental Joint Strike Fighter Program that has already resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts for a Canadian industry that employs 80,000 Canadians. Canadian workers are helping to build the F-35 for Canada and our allies.
"The perspective gained from discussions with our allies and industry partners, including the Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin, has been valuable," said Minister Fantino. "While good progress continues to be made, we will always be vigilant with our stewardship of taxpayers' hard earned dollars. Canada has set a budget for replacement aircraft and we have been clear that we will operate within that budget."
The multinational Joint Strike Fighter Program represents a new model for international cooperation. Regular discussions between Minister Fantino and his counterparts led to agreement that multilateral updates add purpose over bilateral discussions and updates.
"We are demonstrating leadership to improve how Canada and our allies approach multinational development initiatives," said Minister Fantino. "We agree that similar meetings will help improve mutual understanding and collaboration to protect international stability from threats to security and human rights." (ends)