Canadian Aerospace Companies Debate Bombardier vs. Boeing Contract for Military Patrol Planes

The Canadian aerospace industry is divided over the potential contract to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s aging patrol planes, with Bombardier and Boeing competing for the lucrative deal.

The Canadian aerospace sector is abuzz with debate as Bombardier Inc. and Boeing Co. vie for a contract to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s aging patrol planes. Bombardier argues for an open competition, touting its cost-effective and technologically advanced surveillance planes that would be manufactured in Canada. On the other hand, Boeing’s off-the-shelf P-8A Poseidon is deemed the only aircraft that meets all operational requirements. As the government weighs its options, Canadian aerospace companies are divided over which contract would be more beneficial for the sector.

Bombardier’s Case for an Open Bid

Bombardier, the Montreal-based business jet maker, is advocating for an open competition for the military patrol plane contract. The company asserts that its surveillance planes, set to roll off the production line in the early 2030s, offer a cheaper and more advanced solution that would be manufactured domestically. Bombardier argues that an open bid would foster innovation and competition, ultimately benefiting the Canadian aerospace industry.

Boeing’s Ready Solution and Economic Impact

Boeing, the front-runner for the contract, presents its off-the-shelf P-8A Poseidon as the only aircraft currently available that meets all operational requirements for the Canadian Multi-Mission Aircraft (CMMA). The P-8A Poseidon excels in anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering, and surveillance. The American aerospace giant highlights its massive production capacity, which would generate business for Canadian parts providers, maintenance, and repair companies. Furthermore, 81 suppliers for the Poseidon are already based in Canada, offering potential growth opportunities for Canadian companies.

The Importance of a Reliable Procurement Process

Martin Brassard, CEO of Quebec-based landing gear maker Héroux-Devtek Inc., emphasizes the need for a fast and reliable procurement process. Brassard cites past delays in military aircraft selection, such as the CF-18 Hornet in the 1970s and the more recent F-35 stealth fighter jet. He urges the decision to be based on the Defense Department’s assessment rather than political debates, emphasizing the importance of timely decision-making for the industry.

Calls for an Open Bid and Leveling the Playing Field

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Quebec Premier François Legault have joined Bombardier in calling for an open bid, echoing their demand from the summer to “level the playing field” with a request for proposals. They argue that an open competition would ensure fairness and allow for a comprehensive evaluation of all available options.

Economic Impact of Bombardier and Boeing Contracts

Bombardier claims that securing the contract would add $2.8 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product, creating 22,650 jobs directly. A PwC report commissioned by the company supports these projections. Conversely, a study commissioned by Boeing from Ottawa-based Doyletech estimates that a Boeing contract would generate nearly $10 billion in domestic economic activity over a decade and directly support over 230 Canadian businesses.

Benefits of the Proven Boeing Platform

Tracy Medve, CEO of KF Aerospace, highlights the benefits of the proven Boeing platform. KF Aerospace, which specializes in plane repair and overhaul, has worked on Boeing’s Poseidon planes for decades. Medve believes that the P-8A Poseidon is the right choice for Canada, given its track record and the fact that Canadian allies already operate the aircraft. This familiarity would facilitate maintenance and mission operability.


The decision between Bombardier and Boeing for the contract to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s aging patrol planes is a complex one. While Bombardier advocates for an open competition and emphasizes the economic benefits of its solution, Boeing presents a ready and proven platform that aligns with the operational requirements. The Canadian aerospace industry is divided, with companies weighing the potential opportunities and economic impact of each contract. As the government deliberates, it must carefully consider all factors to ensure the best outcome for the sector and the country as a whole.






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