NEWS
03/10/2016 15:02 EST | Updated 03/11/2017 00:12 EST

F-35 rival upbeat with Trudeau Liberal signals on defence priorities

OTTAWA — One of the leading contenders to replace Canada's aging fleet of fighter jets says it believes the Trudeau government's emphasis on North American air defence will stand it in good stead once the competition is launched.

Senior executives at Boeing, based in Chicago, Ill., say their Super Hornet aircraft's rugged design and twin engines make it the most appropriate jet for operations in the Arctic.  

The Liberals promised last October to cancel plans to buy Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighter and hold an open, transparent competition to replace the existing fleet.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also promised the new jets would be cheaper than the stealth fighter and that the savings would be spent rebuilding the navy.

But other aspects of the government's defence agenda has caught Boeing's attention — including language that suggests homeland defence, as opposed to overseas warfighting operations, is where the government sees its priorities.  

Roberto Valla, vice president of global sales for Boeing in Canada, says the Super Hornet is outfitted for war but its sturdy design — meant for aircraft carrier landings — gives it a unique advantage, and is cheaper to operate and maintain.  

The Canadian Press