The Department of National Defence has quietly received approval to buy 16 F-35 fighter jets and related gear for a price tag of $7 billion.
Two defence sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss matters not yet made public, say a funding request sent to the Treasury Board got the green light earlier this month.
The Canadian Press also viewed a document summarizing this request to Treasury Board, which is the department that controls the federal purse strings, and independently verified its accuracy.
The approval covers an initial set of 16 F-35s, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, as well as spare parts, weapons and various startup costs associated with obtaining new jets, such as building new facilities.
The Liberal government has said it plans to buy 88 new fighter jets to replace its aging CF-18s between 2026 and 2032.
The sources say an initial order was required by the end of the calendar year to keep that schedule.
The funding approval follows months of negotiations with the U.S. government and Lockheed Martin after the F-35 beat out Sweden’s Saab Gripen in a competition earlier this year.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 20, 2022.