L-3 division pushes for more F-35 work in Canada

Washington DC
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L-3 MAS is lobbying the Canadian government to negotiate a greater role on the Lockheed Martin F-35 programme.

Concerned about the level of industrial participation on the Joint Strike Fighter, company president Sylvain Bédard pressed the case during a visit on 1 September by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to L-3's factory in Mirabel, Quebec.

"I think this country has to protect its sovereignty," Bédard says. "It's important that this aircraft must be maintained in Canada."

Canadian industry has pressed for greater industry involvement in in-service support packages since Ottawa acquired four Boeing C-17s in 2007 without such a requirement.

In July, Harper's government publicly committed to buy 65 F-35s for delivery after 2016. Ongoing negotiations between the government and Lockheed on the support contract could continue for several months, Bédard says.

L-3 MAS is positioned to reap the benefits of a larger role in the F-35 support programme. The purpose of Harper's visit to the company's Mirabel factory was to award a C$463 million ($286 million) contract for heavy maintenance on the Boeing CF-18 for the next seven years.

The deal also includes options for three additional years, which are insurance in case of further delays to the F-35 programme, Bédard says.

L-3 MAS also is bidding to win work packages on support deals for Boeing CH-47 Chinook transport helicopters acquired by Canada, he says.