Joint Strike Fighter program

Waterloo, Ontario
11 March 2011

The Harper Government’s participation in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program brings significant benefits to Canada.  The JSF is a long-term, multi-billion dollar program that will enable Canada to develop and produce the next generation of stealth fighter aircraft.  Canada’s purchase of 65 F-35 Lightning II aircraft is a multi-year budget item beginning in 2010, with major spending not beginning for three to four years.

The JSF program provides Canada’s aerospace, defence and high-tech companies with an unprecedented opportunity to access the JSF global supply chain, while advancing their technologies, and creating jobs and sustained economic growth in communities across Canada.

JSF partner nation acquisitions of the aircraft are expected to exceed 3,100 units, and overall production could exceed this figure worldwide as other non-partner countries replace their aging fighter fleets.  Canadian participation in the JSF program is not limited to the work associated with the 65 aircraft being purchased by Canada; Canadian companies will have the opportunity to contribute to the manufacture and service of thousands of aircraft. 

Work packages available to Canadian companies could include the manufacturing and assembly of parts and sub-systems, as well as servicing, repair, simulation and training over a 40-year period.  Estimates from the JSF prime contractors show that the production opportunities available to Canada could total approximately $12 billion.  Further opportunities from training, simulation and maintenance will add to this figure as the economic benefits from the JSF program continue to flow to Canadian companies throughout the operational lifespan of the worldwide fleet.

JSF Program History

Since 1997, Canada has been involved in the development, design and initial production phases of the JSF program.  In 2006, the Government signed the Production, Sustainment and Follow-on Development Phase Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  In this MOU, the partners agreed to implement a best-value approach to maximize industrial benefits and the affordability of the JSF program for partner countries.

As Canada is a partner country, Canadian companies are among those eligible to bid on the work packages that flow from this project. 

To date, Canada has invested approximately $168 million in the JSF program.  This has translated into an estimated $350 million in contracts to 64 Canadian companies, research laboratories and universities.  Canada has already seen a two-to-one return on its investment.

Industry Canada has signed Industrial Participation memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with each of the JSF prime contractors (Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney, and the General Electric Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team).  These Industrial Participation MOUs meet the Harper Government’s objective of encouraging foreign industry to establish long-term relationships with Canadian industry.  Industry Canada continues to work cooperatively with the Department of National Defence, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and regional development agencies across Canada to identify and pursue opportunities with JSF prime contractors and their suppliers.

The JSF program, a United States-led partnership, includes Canada, Australia, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey and the United Kingdom. 

Virtek Vision International Inc.

Virtek Vision is a manufacturer of sophisticated 3D laser templating technology used in the assembly of aircraft, including the F-35 Lightning II jets under the JSF program.  This equipment shows workers where to lay the cut pieces of material as they assemble aircraft skin and structural components. 

Virtek, a Gerber Technology company, is a leader in laser templating and imaging solutions.  It supplies construction and aerospace industries worldwide and offers manufacturing, development, integration, training, after sales support and installation.