The Canadian government has once again extended its deadline to accept bids for new fighter jets. As this newspaper reported on (i.e. last) Tuesday, the federal government was considering yet another extension, this time from the current June 30 deadline.
On Wednesday night, Public Services and Procurement Canada confirmed that deadline had been changed again. “The June 30, 2020 deadline for eligible suppliers to submit their proposals has been extended to July 31, 2020, at the request of industry,” it noted in a statement.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is presenting numerous challenges for businesses and their workforce, including the eligible suppliers for the Future Fighter Capability Project. The unprecedented situation has impacted proposal finalization. To support our commitment to conducting an open, fair, and transparent competition, the extension will ensure all suppliers are able to submit their most competitive offer to Canada.”
The fighter jet competition was launched on Dec. 12, 2017 and at this point three aircraft are to be considered: the F-35, the Super Hornet and the Gripen. The program is expected to cost around $19 billion and will see the purchase of 88 new jets. The new jets would replace the current CF-18 fleet.
The bids were originally supposed to be submitted in May 2019 but that was pushed back to March 30 this year. That deadline, in turn, was pushed back to June 30 at the request of the aerospace industry, Public Services and Procurement Canada announced in February.