Canadian Aerospace Companies Debate Bombardier vs. Boeing for Military Plane Contract

As the Canadian government considers options to replace its aging military patrol planes, Canadian aerospace companies are divided between Bombardier’s open competition proposal and Boeing’s off-the-shelf P-8A Poseidon.

Canadian aerospace companies are engaged in a heated debate over the choice of aircraft to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s aging fleet of CP-140 Aurora patrol planes. Bombardier, a Montreal-based business-jet maker, is advocating for an open competition, while Boeing is promoting its off-the-shelf P-8A Poseidon. The decision could have significant financial implications for the aerospace sector, with both options offering lucrative opportunities. As the government weighs its options, Canadian aerospace companies are voicing their opinions and highlighting the potential benefits and drawbacks of each proposal.

Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon: A Ready Solution with Economic Benefits
Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon has emerged as the front-runner due to its ability to meet all of the Canadian Multi-Mission Aircraft’s operational requirements, particularly in anti-submarine warfare and surveillance. The aircraft’s off-the-shelf availability and Boeing’s massive production capacity are seen as advantages by proponents of this option. Martin Brassard, CEO of landing-gear maker Heroux-Devtek Inc., emphasizes Boeing’s extensive supplier network in Canada, which would generate business for parts providers and maintenance and repair outfits across the country. A contract win could also strengthen Boeing’s presence in Canada and open doors for Canadian operators. Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Quebec Premier François Legault have echoed Bombardier’s calls for an open bid, emphasizing the need to level the playing field and create jobs in Canada.

Bombardier’s Alternative: A Cheaper and More High-Tech Solution
Bombardier argues that its reconnaissance planes, which are expected to be assembled in Canada, offer a cheaper and more high-tech alternative to Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon. The company has joined forces with U.S. rival General Dynamics to build a surveillance aircraft based on the Global 6500 jet, equipped with submarine-hunting technology and sensors. Bombardier claims that this modified version would burn less fuel and have superior performance compared to its American counterpart. The company projects that a contract win would contribute $2.8 billion to Canada’s GDP and create thousands of jobs across the country.

The Importance of a Timely Procurement Process
While the current CP-140 Aurora fleet is not set to retire until 2030, industry experts stress the importance of a timely procurement process. John Gradek, an aviation management professor at McGill University, explains that as the aircraft age, maintenance costs increase, and parts become scarce. Boeing’s P-8A Poseidons could be delivered as early as 2026, offering a potential solution five years before Bombardier’s alternative. The question remains whether the Poseidons are the right technology for the Canadian military’s needs.


The debate between Bombardier and Boeing for the contract to replace Canada’s aging military patrol planes highlights the competing interests and potential benefits for the Canadian aerospace sector. While Bombardier argues for an open competition, Boeing’s off-the-shelf P-8A Poseidon has gained favor due to its ability to meet operational requirements and its economic benefits for Canadian suppliers. The government’s decision will shape the future of the Canadian aerospace industry and determine whether Canada will carve a fresh technological path or opt for a proven solution. As the debate continues, the timely procurement of a replacement fleet remains crucial to ensure the country’s military readiness and economic growth.






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