08 Jul 16. AIRSHOW-Canada talks to bidders to map out fighter jet competition. Canada talked to potential bidders on Thursday to map out next steps in a protracted effort to replace an aging fleet of CF-18 fighter jets built by Boeing, industry and government officials said on Friday.
Defence ministry spokesman Evan Koronewski said Ottawa would assess its options over the summer, in part to determine if Canada needed to purchase all 65 jets it initially planned.
Representatives of Boeing, Eurofighter, Lockheed Martin and Saab took part in a conference call with Canadian agencies on Thursday, a second government spokesman said.
France’s Dassault did not take part but expressed interest in meeting with Canadian officials next week at the Farnborough International Airshow outside London, he said.
Koronewski said the government would consider issues such as cost, delivery times, readiness, interoperability with North American Aerospace Defense Command and economic benefits.
Boeing wants Canada to buy its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, which is nearing the end of production, instead of the Lockheed F-35 fighter that was backed by the previous Conservative government.
Canada paid to help develop the F-35, and many Canadian firms produce parts for the plane, but those orders could disappear if Ottawa opts for a rival, since countries that order jets are entitled to industrial participation in the program.
Canada’s ruling Liberals government vowed during the 2015 election campaign to ban the F-35 from a new competition, though officials have since softened their stance. Lockheed has said it could shift nearly $1bn in orders from Canadian firms if Ottawa quit the program.
Lockheed, which is showcasing the F-35 at two British air shows this month, welcomed Thursday’s call.
“We believe this is a positive first step to an open competition and Lockheed Martin remains confident that the F-35 is the best and most affordable solution,” said Lockheed spokesman Joe LaMarca.
Lockheed says it believes the plane could win in an open competition given its stealthy characteristics and a drop in costs since bids were initially submitted. Lockheed officials say the F-35 will cost around $85m, including an engine, in 2019. Boeing argues its Super Hornets would cost less, and is also offering Canadian firms work on its commercial jets if Ottawa decides to buy the F/A-18E/F.
“Boeing stands ready to support the government of Canada’s consultation process,” said a spokeswoman.
Boeing has over the past five years awarded Canadian companies $6bn in direct contracts, the spokesman added. (Source: Reuters)
08 Jul 16. S. Korea, U.S. to deploy THAAD missile defence, drawing China rebuke.
* Advanced missile defence system to be deployed “soon”
* Move comes after N.Korea ramps up missile, nuclear tests
* South Korea, U.S. say THAAD is defence against North Korea
* Japan considering its own THAAD-type of defence
* Selection of site could come “with weeks” (Adds Japan reaction)
South Korea and the United States said on Friday they will deploy an advanced missile defence system in South Korea to counter a threat from North Korea, drawing sharp and swift protest from neighbouring China.
The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system will be used only as protection against North Korea’s growing nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities, the South’s Defence Ministry and the U.S. Defence Department said in a joint statement.
Beijing said on Friday it lodged complaints with the U.S. and South Korean ambassadors over the THAAD decision.
China said the system would destabilize the security balance in the region without achieving anything to end the North’s nuclear programme. China is North Korea’s main ally but opposes its pursuit of nuclear weapons and backed the latest U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang in March.
“China strongly urges the United States and South Korea to stop the deployment process of the THAAD anti-missile system, no