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Aerospace industry lauds feds for R&D participation in new fighter jet

Canada's aerospace industry has voiced its support for the decision to continue Canada's participation in the development of the JSF.


September 19, 2007
By Carey Fredericks

OTTAWA, Dec. 11 – Canada's aerospace industry has voiced its support for the government's decision to continue Canada's participation in the next phase of development of the joint strike fighter (JSF), the next generation of multi-tasking fighter jet.

Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) chairman, Don Campbell said, "We see the JSF program as an important opportunity – one that will yield significant benefits for Canadian companies. By committing to JSF's production and sustainment phase, the government is furthering the growth and competitiveness of Canadian aerospace technology and market leadership."

The joint strike fighter (F-35) program is a U.S.-led multinational effort to build an affordable, multi-role, stealth fighter aircraft. Along with Canada and the U.S., international participants include the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Turkey, and Australia.

In announcing Canada's continued participation in the JSF program, the minister of national defence, Gordon O'Connor cited the technological benefits and economic opportunities associated with the project as central to the government's decision to move ahead. Further, Maxime Bernier, federal minister of industry, today announced Canada's signing of memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Pratt & Whitney, and the GE Rolls-Royce fighter engine team. These MOUs will provide Canadian companies the right to compete for up to $8 billion in JSF-related contracts.

According to Peter Boag, AIAC president and CEO, "The government's leadership in support of Canadian aerospace companies deserves top marks. We have made the case repeatedly that Canada's role in developing the JSF will pave the way to high value, lasting industrial benefits that will continue to flow to firms across the country." According to Boag, "The JSF's real value lies in our access to advanced manufacturing processes using next generation materials and composites – expertise we can exploit to secure future aerospace development work across commercial, defence, and space sectors. It will pave the way to more aerospace R&D in Canada and increased exports."

To date, the JSF program has directly benefited over 54 Canadian companies. These firms, many of which are small and medium-sized offering niche, world class solutions, have signed contracts valued over $157 million U.S. This states Boag, "is a direct result of industry and government working cooperatively."

The AIAC is the national trade association representing Canada's aerospace manufacturing and services sector – the fourth largest aerospace industry in the world, employing more than 75,000 Canadians. The organization represents the interests of more than 400 companies in every region of the country.