French aircraft-maker ramps up pitch to Harper government in CF-18 replacement - InfoNews

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French aircraft-maker ramps up pitch to Harper government in CF-18 replacement

January 22, 2014 - 12:37 PM

OTTAWA - French aircraft maker Dassault Aviation is promising lower long-term support costs if the deficit-conscious Harper government chooses its Rafale fighter jet to replace the air force's aging CF-18s.

Yves Robins, a senior Dassault vice-president, says the company's proposal, includes the unrestricted transfer of technology, such as software source codes.

That could shave hundreds of millions of dollars off the life-time price tag to operate and upgrade the fighter, which is already in service with the French air force.

It has been a little over a year since the Conservatives put their plan to buy 65 Lockheed Martin F-35 jets on hold and almost two years since the auditor general accused National Defence and Public Works of low-balling the price tag for the stealth fighters.

A public works secretariat set up to reboot the multibillion-dollar fighter jet program has asked for detailed proposals from rival aircraft makers, but the Harper government has yet to decide whether there will be a full-fledged competition to pick a successor to the CF-18s.

Robins says the sooner the government makes a decision, the better it would be for the Royal Canadian Air Force, because the current fleet is due to retire around 2020.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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