FORT WORTH, Texas, July 19 (UPI) -- Canada has decided to buy 65 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightening II jets to replace its fleet of CF-18 Hornets.
Canada, a partner in the aircraft's development, and Lockheed said delivery will begin in 2016.
"We're very pleased with the decision and are committed to supporting the Government of Canada in moving forward with the F-35," said Tom Burbage, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and general manager of F-35 Program Integration. "The Lightning II will help ensure Canada's national security, and also positions Canadian industry to immediately capture long-term work that will endure for the next 30 years."
The decision was announced Friday by both parties.
Kim Testa, a spokeswoman for Lockheed Martin, was quoted in DefenseNews as saying Canada was buying the least expensive of the aircraft's three variants, with a cost of about $60 million per aircraft.
The F-35 is a supersonic, multirole, fifth-generation stealth fighter developed and funded by a consortium of nine countries. It is designed to excel in both air-to-air and air-to-ground operations and features a comprehensive and powerful array of avionics, the company said.
Lockheed Martin principal industrial partners in development of the aircraft are Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.