Boeing Cagey On Fighter Bid

Second flight of the F/A-18E/F Advanced Super Hornet with conformal fuel tanks. 8/6/2013

Boeing says it still hasn’t decided if it will bid to supply Canada’s new fighter aircraft even though it’s been approved as one of five potential suppliers. The Canadian government earlier canceled a deal to buy 18 F/A-18 Super Hornets after Boeing launched a controversial trade dispute against the sale of Bombardier CSeries airliners in the U.S. But just because Boeing, along with Lockheed Martin (F-35), Dassault (Rafale) Saab (Gripen) and Airbus (Eurofighter) has been allowed to compete, it may still be at a huge disadvantage in the contest. Because of the trade dispute, Canada has said it will change it procurement rules to penalize companies engaged in actions that would harm domestic industries, something the federal government has already alleged Boeing is doing in the Bombardier dispute.

Boeing is non-committal on actually bidding and recently stayed away from an information session for potential bidders. Company spokesman Scott Day said the company will monitor Canada’s proposed changes to the bidding process and make up its mind when the new rules are clear. “Boeing values Canada as a customer and supplier-partner for both our commercial and defence businesses,” Day told CBC. “We continue to believe that the Super Hornet is the low-risk, low-cost approach and has all the advanced capabilities the Royal Canadian Air Force needs now and well into the future.”