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Replacement of surveillance aircraft | Bombardier fears preferential treatment for Boeing



Bombardier deplores a lack of listening on the part of the Trudeau government and fears that it will conclude an over-the-counter agreement with Boeing for new surveillance planes – a multi-billion dollar contract – rather than through a call for offers in due form.

“I sent four letters to Ottawa, explained the president and CEO of the aircraft manufacturer, Éric Martel, Thursday, on the airwaves of 98.5 FM. I had an acknowledgment, but no discussions really. We hear that there is a lot of pressure from the other party [Boeing] to perhaps move forward over-the-counter. »

The contract in question is for the replacement of CP-140 Auroras operated by National Defence. These are long-range patrol aircraft that will be phased out from 2030. Their entry into service began in 1980. These aircraft can carry eight anti-submarine torpedoes.

Valued at more than 5 billion, the “Canadian Multi-Mission Aircraft” program should begin to take shape in 2023. The first deliveries are scheduled for the beginning of the next decade.

Boeing has already raised its hand with its P-8A Poseidon – akin to the 737 family of aircraft. Bombardier would like its Global private jets, which can be converted to perform reconnaissance and surveillance missions, to be evaluated by the Canadian government. For the Quebec multinational, the challenge will be to convince Canadian authorities that a smaller device can do the same job as its rival’s model.

“Yes, there are people [du gouvernement] who listened, but we did not have a clear answer to say: “Yes, there will be a call for tenders”, said Mr. Martel. We are not asking that the contract be awarded to us by mutual agreement, but I want at least to have the chance to bid with a product that we consider extremely competitive. »


Éric Martel is President and Chief Executive Officer of Bombardier.

Assembly of the Global family takes place in the Toronto area. Repurposing an aircraft takes place in Wichita, Kansas, which was once responsible for building Learjets. The Boeing aircraft is assembled in the United States.

In an email sent to The Press, National Defense indicated that “the exact number of platforms that will be purchased is still being determined”, without confirming whether there would be a call for tenders. The next steps for the project are expected to be announced in the “new year”, wrote a spokesperson, Jessica Lamirande.

The American giant had not responded Thursday afternoon to Mr. Martel’s remarks.

Bombardier is much less present than Boeing, Airbus and Embraer in the military sector, but it would like that to change. The company would like to generate around 10% – around 1 billion US – of its annual turnover in this sector.

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  • 550
    Number of Bombardier-built “specialty” business jets in service worldwide

    SOURCE: bomber

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