Canada's Department of National Defence (DND) is close to a decision on whether Bombardier or CAE will be selected to provide training for the country's Boeing CF-188A/B (F-18A/B) Hornet fighters. CAE is bidding for the estimated C$225 million ($168 million) deal with Boeing, while Bombardier has teamed with L-3 Communications of New York.

A decision has been delayed as a result of an ongoing government-wide expenditure review imposed by newly installed prime minister Paul Martin. The DND has completed a technical review of both proposals, while a separate agency has also studied the pricing proposals of each bid.

Although it has little fighter-jet simulation experience, CAE has the edge, according to analyst Ben Cherniavsky of Raymond James in Vancouver, because it has partnered with Boeing, which built the F-18s, and CAE would perform 70% of the work on the contract, compared with Bombardier's 10% share.

Bombardier's advantage is that partner L-3 has a proven track record as an F/A-18 trainer, and Bombardier also held the maintenance contract for Canada's Hornets from 1986 before selling its Military Aviation Services unit to L-3 and its Canadian subsidiary Spar Aerospace last November (Flight International, 11-17 November 2003).

Source: Flight International