Jan. 9 (UPI) — The Royal Canadian Air Force announced the addition of 88 F-35 stealth fighters for its defenses Monday.
The air force ordered a fleet of fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II aircraft, or F-35A, from manufacturer Lockheed Martin as part of its Future Fighter Capability Project. The aircraft are capable of reaching speeds of Mach 1.6, about 1,200 mph, and carry a weapons payload of as much as 18,000 pounds.
“Today, I announced that Canada is acquiring a new fleet of 88 F-35 fighter jets. This project is estimated at $19 billion — making it the largest investment in our @RCAF_ARC in three decades,” Anita Anand, Canada’s minister of defense, said in a tweet on social media.
“This project will ensure that our aviators have the tools they need to defend Canada,” Anand stated.
The acquisition will cost about $14 billion, with deliveries expected to begin in 2026, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Lockheed Martin markets the F-35 as the most “lethal, survivable and connected” aircraft in the world.
“The F-35 is the best in the world, providing unmatched interoperability to America, Canada and the additional 15 nations that have selected the fighter. It is a global game-changer,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Mike Schmidt.
“Through power-projection, the F-35 is at the tip of the spear for deterrence. Its forward presence will continue to ensure that potential adversaries choose diplomacy over armed conflict.”
F-35s are positioned at 27 bases throughout the world. About 890 are in use.