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Canada to Buy New Transport Aircraft (Nov 23)

OTTAWA --- The Government of Canada today announced it will move forward with the competitive procurement of a new tactical airlift fleet for the Canadian Forces. The tactical airlift project will see the purchase of at least 16 new aircraft valued at between $4-5 billion, including a 20-year in-service support contract.

“The Defence Policy Statement identifies airlift as a priority for the Canadian Forces and a new tactical airlift fleet, to replace the aging Hercules, is the first step in delivering on the promises of this policy,” said Bill Graham, Minister of National Defence. “I am confident in the procurement strategy. We intend to buy military equipment faster and more efficiently than in the past by basing the competition on performance requirements such as range, speed and the ability to operate in remote and hostile environments.”

"My department is committed to supporting National Defence in its program to replace its Hercules fleet. We will ensure the acquisition of replacement aircraft is carried out in a timely fashion while ensuring that the procurement process remains fair, open and transparent,” said the Honourable Scott Brison, Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

“This new fleet will provide the men and women our forces with the right tools to do their job,” said General Rick Hillier, Chief of the Defence Staff. “The new aircraft will provide an essential airlift lifeline service to Canadians in distress and deployed forces, both at home and abroad.”

The new tactical airlift aircraft will replace 13 older CC-130 Hercules, the workhorses of the Canadian Forces' transport fleet. Different variants of this rugged and versatile aircraft have served the Canadian Forces well since the early 1960s. The current CC-130 fleet continues to be the primary aircraft for tactical airlift, tactical air-to-air refuelling , and search and rescue.

The competitive procurement of these aircraft will begin immediately without compromising operational requirements, quality or cost. The procurement approach, a solicitation of interest and qualification, will be pursued to select the right aircraft for the Canadian Forces.

A solicitation of interest and qualification is a new approach to procurement that invites potential suppliers to indicate their interest and demonstrate their ability to meet mandatory criteria.

This performance-based approach to contracting is fair, transparent, and competitive. (ends)

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Canadian officials are being accused of slanting the program in favor of Lockheed’s C-130J by insisting that the winning aircraft be certified before the contract is signed, rather than before deliveries begin as is usual. This eliminates the Airbus A400M from the competition).

Click here for a transcript of a Nov. 22 media conference during which senior DND officials defended their decision, and detailed the planned acquisition process.)

Government of Canada Announces New Tactical Airlift Project