Boeing has formally submitted its candidate for Canada’s fighter replacement procurement and designed a version of the Block III F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The company is on rocky ground with the Canadian government after it tried to block sales of the then-Bombardier CSeries aircraft to airlines in the U.S. in 2017 but it has nevertheless joined the fighter fray with Lockheed Martin’s F-35 and Saab’s much upgraded Gripen. The decade-long procurement, which has taken several forms over the years, finally became a straight bid competition and the deadline for finalized bids was Friday. “Today marks an important milestone in the Future Fighter Capability Project,” Public Service Canada tweeted on Friday. “Canada received bids from all 3 eligible suppliers. Good news for our RCAF.”
The artists rendering included with Boeing’s bid shows a Super Hornet bristling with 14 missiles (12 AIM-120 air-to-air and two Sidewinders) along with a pod containing an infrared search and track sensor. The drawings also show it with conformal fuel tanks, which are an upgrade to other bid proposals by Boeing and will give the Super Hornet significantly better range. Evaluating the bids will take another two years and the contract value is estimated at between $15 billion and $19 billion.