OTTAWA, Dec 1, Reuters -- Canada formally excluded Boeing Co from a multi-billion dollar contract to supply 88 new fighter jets, the federal government said on Wednesday, but did not give a direct explanation.
The move means that only Lockheed Martin Corp and Sweden's Saab AB are left in the race. Ottawa intends to make a decision next year on a contract that could be worth up to C $19 billion and $14.8 billion. Reuters reported the decision to bar Boeing's F- 18 Super Hornet on Nov. 25, citing a defense source. The federal procurement ministry didn't mention Boeing by name, and was a formal announcement from the federal procurement ministry.
Defense analysts had been certain that Ottawa would exclude Saab's Gripen plane. Sweden is not a member of NATO or NORAD, the North American defense organization.
Canada belongs to the consortium that developed Lockheed Martin's F-35 jet, which defense sources say is the preferred choice of the air force.
The procurement ministry said it could decide which bidder offered the best plane or offer Lockheed Martin and Saab a chance to improve their proposals.