The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence (UK MoD) and Airbus Defence and Space announced on 30 August that they have informed the Government of Canada of their decision to withdraw the Eurofighter Typhoon from Canada’s Future Fighter Capability Project (FFCP). The decision is the result of a detailed review of the Request for Proposal (RFP) which had been released on 23 July 2019.
Both, the UK MoD and Airbus Defence and Space, said that they appreciated the FFCP team’s commitment to transparency throughout the last two years as well as the thoroughly professional nature of the competition. This applies in particular to the efforts made to facilitate an enormously complex task of developing the RFP whilst responding to feedback from the suppliers.
However, after careful analysis of the input from the draft as well as the final RFP, two reasons led to the decision of the Canada campaign team to withdraw from the project: First, a detailed review has led the parties to conclude that NORAD security requirements continue to place too significant of a cost on platforms whose manufacture and repair chains sit outside the United States-Canada two-eyes community. Second, both parties concluded that the significant recent revision of the Industrial Technological Benefits (ITB) obligations does not sufficiently value the binding commitments the Typhoon package was willing to make, and which were one of its major points of focus. With this decision to withdraw from the FFCP, the UK MoD and Airbus Defence and Space will not proceed any further with their Typhoon campaign in Canada.
Nevertheless, both parties reiterated their commitment to the Canadian Government, the Canadian Armed Forces, the country’s aerospace sector and last but not least the people of Canada. Simon Jacques, President of Airbus Defence and Space Canada, said: “Airbus Defence and Space is proud of our longstanding partnership with the Government of Canada, and of serving our fifth home country’s aerospace priorities for over three decades. Together we continue in our focus of supporting the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces, growing skilled aerospace jobs across the country and spurring innovation in the Canadian aerospace sector.”
With this decision, only three aircraft manufacturers are still in the competition: Lockheed Martin with the F-35, Boeing with the F/A-18 Super Hornet and Saab with the Gripen E/F. Dassault Aviation dropped out of the Canadian contest in November 2018 due to some concerns about interoperability and requirements about intelligence-sharing.
The Canadian Government intends to procure a total of 88 new combat aircraft as a replacement for its aging Boeing CF-18 Hornets. According to various media reports, the contract volume is estimated at about 15 billion US-Dollars. Contract signature is expected in 2022, with first aircraft deliveries in 2025.