OTTAWA --- Days after Airbus Defence and Space pulled out of the $19-billion race to replace Canada’s aging fighter jets, the only European firm still eligible to compete says it has not decided whether it will.
Saab Canada president Simon Carroll says the Swedish firm is interested in entering its Gripen jet against its two remaining competitors, both of which are from the United States: Boeing’s Super Hornet and Lockheed Martin’s F-35.
However, Mr. Carroll told The Canadian Press on Tuesday that his company is still analyzing the competition’s nitty-gritty details – including a security requirement that forced out two other European jet makers.
All bidders are required to explain by Sept. 20 how they plan to ensure their planes can integrate with the top-secret Canada-U.S. intelligence network known as “Two Eyes,” which is used to co-ordinate the defence of North America.
But in announcing its withdrawal from the competition on Friday, Airbus said meeting the requirement would place “too significant of a cost” on non-U.S. aircraft. French firm Dassault cited the same requirement when it pulled its Rafale jet in November.
“We are still looking at that security assessment side of things from the Two-Eyes perspective,” Mr. Carroll said. (end of excerpt)
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