OTTAWA --- American officials will need to certify the fighter jet Canada buys at the end of a multibillion-dollar procurement that's started and stopped and started again for more than a decade, ensuring that it's fit to plug into the U.S.'s highest-security intelligence systems.
But, says the Department of National Defence's top procurement official, they will not get to decide which plane replaces Canadian military's aging CF-18s.
"Ultimately when we select, when we are into the detailed design, at some point, yes, the U.S. will have a role to play in ultimate certification," Patrick Finn, the Defence Department's assistant deputy minister of materiel, told The Canadian Press.
"But the Americans won't be sitting with us with the evaluation and doing that type of work. It will be us."
Some industry sources are nonetheless worried the U.S. could use the certification requirement to block Canada from choosing a non-American plane, particularly given the Trump administration's approach to trade.
The federal government this week laid out the latest iteration of its plan for the $19-billion competition to replace Canada's CF-18s with 88 new fighters, which is expected to officially launch in July.
While much of the presentation delivered to fighter-jet makers focused on a loosening of industrial-benefit rules (that is, how much the winning bidder will be expected to spend on work and production in Canada), the government also revealed that companies will be asked to show how they plan to meet certain security requirements.
Specifically, companies will have until September to explain how they plan to ensure their aircraft can comply with the standards required for handling top-secret intelligence from two security networks in which Canada takes part, called "Five Eyes" and "Two Eyes." (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Chronicle-Journal website.