In a surprise move, Canada has told Boeing Co that its contender for a multi-billion dollar fighter jet contract does not meet the required standard, a defense source said on Thursday.
This means only Lockheed Martin Corp and Sweden’s Saab AB are left in the race to supply 88 jets. Ottawa says it intends to make a decision next year on a contract that could be worth up to C$19 billion ($15 billion).
Boeing had entered its F-18 Super Hornet in the race. The Canadian Press was the first the report the news.
Defense analysts had been certain Ottawa would exclude Saab’s Gripen plane. Unlike Canada, Sweden is neither a member of NATO or NORAD, the North American defense organization.
Canada is a member of the consortium that developed Lockheed Martin’s F-35 jet, which defense sources say is the preferred choice of the Canadian air force.
Lockheed Martin declined to comment, while no one at Saab was available for comment. Boeing spokesman Paul Lewis said by email that the company would reserve comment pending official notification from Ottawa.