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Canada's swipe at Boeing jets could open way for European rivals

Canada's swipe at Boeing jets could open way for European rivals
From Reuters - December 6, 2017

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadas decision to shun Boeing Co (BA.N) jets could open the way for European rivals seeking to supply new fighters, assuming the government can sort out major procurement challenges, three sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Canada is scrapping a plan to buy 18 Boeing Super Hornet planes and will instead opt for a second-hand fleet of Australian jets, sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

Boeings future military sales in Canada are in question after the U.S. defense firm launched a trade challenge against Canadian planemaker Bombardier Inc (BBDb.TO).

But - in what the sources said was a worst-case scenario - a government angry at Boeing and unconvinced by other U.S. options may end up facing off against a Canadian air force that dislikes the idea of a European jet.

This is a real mess, said one person familiar with official procurement policy.

The Super Hornets were supposed to help tide Canada over as it holds a competition for fighters to replace 77 veteran CF-18s.

Canadian defense sources say the air force - seeking to maintain close ties with its U.S. counterpart - has long preferred a U.S. jet, which would narrow the race to the Super Hornet or Lockheed Martin Corps (LMT.N) F-35 stealth fighter.

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