Canada's National Fighter Procurement Secretariat (NFPS) released the final version of a questionnaire to industry on 3 March asking for detailed technical information on several competing fighter aircraft. According Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), the agency that supervises the NFPS, Boeing, Dassault, Eurofighter, Saab, and Lockheed Martin were asked to participate.
"The information gathered through the questionnaire will support a rigorous examination of available fighter aircraft options on the market and how they could accomplish the missions outlined in the Canada First Defence Strategy," the PWGSC says. The companies have six weeks to complete the questionnaire.
The PWGSC says that an independent review panel scrutinized the questionnaire in order to ensure the process is "rigorous and impartial". "The evaluation of options work will be completed as expeditiously as possible and will culminate in a final report that captures the full analysis of the capabilities, costs and risks of each option," the PWGSC says.
A draft version of the questionnaire was previously released to industry on 25 January 2013. "The National Fighter Procurement Secretariat received input from all five companies and their feedback is reflected in the final questionnaire," the PWGSC says.
A second questionnaire on cost information will be released to industry in draft form "at a later date".
The NFPS is evaluating options as part of the Canadian government's seven-point plan to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force's fleet of 78 Boeing CF-18 Hornets. The government was forced to enact the plan after its efforts to procure F-35s stealth fighters from Lockheed Martin without a competition or through cost analysis came under severe criticism from Canada'a auditor general in 2012.
"Until the Seven-Point Plan is complete, the Government will not make a decision on the replacement for the CF-18 fighter jets and all options remain on the table," the PWGSC says.