Canada has initiated an independent assessment into the acquisition process used to replace its air force fleet of Boeing F/A-18 combat aircraft, which has so far favoured the purchase of Lockheed Martin's F-35A Joint Strike Fighter.

The Public Works and Government Services Canada body on 26 October issued a request for proposals "to obtain the services of a firm to conduct an independent review of the steps taken up to June 2012 in the acquisition process for the replacement of the CF-18".

A company should be contracted in December 2012 to review factors under a seven-point action plan, the announcement says. These include to "determine whether the shortcomings the Auditor General identified in the acquisition process have been addressed; confirm whether the steps taken in the acquisition process for the period up to June 2012 were in accordance with government policies, procedures and regulations; and provide lessons learned and propose recommendations for changes, if any, to current practices and policies for acquisitions of a similar nature".

Canada's National Fighter Procurement Secretariat will oversee the review process, with a government decision on whether to acquire the conventional take-off and landing F-35 to be partially influenced by its findings. Separately, the Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada has already contracted KPMG to independently review the cost of involvement in the F-35 programme.

The Canadian government has previously identified a need to buy around 65 Joint Strike Fighters.

Source: Flight International