Federal ministers are expected to announce today that Boeing is the company of choice to replace the military’s aging patrol planes in a multibillion-dollar deal.
The decision to go with a sole-source contract would close the door on Quebec-based business jet maker Bombardier, which has been pushing for an open bid.
Two sources familiar with the matter who were not authorized to speak publicly say that, following cabinet approval last week, the Treasury Board held a special meeting Tuesday and rubber-stamped the purchase of 16 P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft to replace the half-century-old CP-140 Auroras.
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The procurement department has stated that Boeing’s off-the-shelf reconnaissance plane is the only currently available aircraft that meets Royal Canadian Air Force needs, particularly around submarine-hunting technology.
Bombardier CEO Eric Martel has argued that its plane, which is currently a prototype and slated to roll off the line in the early 2030s, would offer a cheaper and more high-tech alternative that’s made in Canada.
In Ottawa today, sources say that Defence Minister Bill Blair, Procurement Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne are slated to announce the deal, which a U.S. agency has listed at US$5.9 billion (C$8 billion).
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