Defence Policy Calls for New Fighters

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan unveiled a new defence policy for Canada last Wednesday. Among the announcements in the comprehensive policy document is the government’s intention to purchase 88 new fighter jets to replace the CF-18 fleet, and to replace the CC-150 Polaris, CC-138 Twin Otter and CP-140 Aurora aircraft.

The specific aircraft will be selected through “an open and transparent procurement process,” according to the Department of National Defence. A plan to purchase an interim fleet of 18 Boeing Super Hornets was not mentioned in the defence policy announcement.

Under the new policy, the government will increase defence spending by approximately 70 per cent over the next 10 years. In addition to new equipment for the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force, the policy calls for more regular force, reserve force and civilian personnel.

The policy includes increased support for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and their families through health and wellness initiatives, a new Personnel Administration Branch and new money for Military Family Resource Centres. It also outlines better transition and support services for CAF members and veterans.

Sajjan said the policy follows a year-long consultation process and review.

“The result of this review is a defence policy that addresses what we heard and presents a new vision for the National Defence - Strong at home. Secure in North America. Engaged in the world,” he said in a statement to CAF members.

“It identifies what matters most to Canada and how Defence will contribute to the promotion and protection of Canadian interests and values in a fluid and volatile global security environment. It puts our people at the core, and allows for effective long-term planning and the mitigation of the unique challenges and long lead times associated with developing credible defence capability.”

Chief of the Defence Staff Gen Jonathan Vance said the policy includes a renewed focus on personnel.

“It recognizes that you and your families are at the very heart of our operational success. Because you have chosen to proudly wear the uniform and serve our country, you and your family deserve the best care throughout your career and beyond,” he said.

“A team is only as strong as the people within it. Personalizing our approach to how we care for and value you and your families will make the Canadian Armed Forces a more effective force; more flexible, more combat-ready, and able to respond quickly and decisively to any threat or situation, anywhere and at any time. This is the Canadian Armed Forces of the future.”

Defence Policy Calls for New Fighters

Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan (left) and Chief of the Defence Staff Gen Jonathan Vance announced Canada’s new defence policy last week. (Photo by DND)


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