By Ryan Maass | March 15, 2017 at 12:36 PM
March 15 (UPI) -- Canada's government formalized its plans to purchase Super Hornet fighter jets from the United States when it issued a letter of intent to the U.S. on Tuesday.
The letter follows months of negotiations between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government, U.S. defense officials and Boeing representatives. Canada's request calls for the procurement of 18 F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft.
Trudeau's government began exploring a potential Super Hornet buy in November 2016 as a temporary solution for replacing the country's aging fighter fleet, opting to distance itself from the Lockheed Martin-led F-35 program.
While Canada maintains the procurement is a temporary solution until an open and transparent competition can be initiated to replace the country's CF-18s, defense officials say the decision marks notable progress toward a permanent replacement.
"Today's announcement shows important progress toward getting the brave women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces the equipment they need to protect Canadians and Canadian values around the world," Canadian National Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan said in a press release. "We will assess whether an interim Super Hornet fleet purchase will help ensure Canada remains a credible and dependable ally for many years to come."
Canada's next step for the procurement will involve further negotiations with Boeing and other suppliers to develop an official proposal. The country expects an official response from the U.S. in the early fall of 2017.
Original post: upi.com
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