Premier slams potential fighter jet purchase

23 November 2016

Premier Brian Pallister blasted a federal government plan Tuesday to consider acquiring 18 new Boeing-made Super Hornet fighter jets, saying it would have "a severe negative impact" on Manitoba.

Pallister was reacting to a report the Liberal government will "explore the acquisition" of the Hornets on an interim basis until it can decide on a permanent replacement for the country’s aging fleet of fighter planes.

The move would deal a blow to the local aerospace industry, the premier said, naming Magellan as one of the local companies impacted.

"I’m very concerned in respect of the actions that have been taken by the federal government today," he told reporters. "It will have a severe negative impact on the province of Manitoba."

Pallister said the federal move is a departure from previous public commitments by Ottawa to Manitoba’s aerospace industry.

"Through additional research and dialogue we will be pursuing a course of action on this, but we’re not impressed or happy with the announcement this morning," he said.

The Winnipeg division of Magellan Aerospace is the largest Canadian structural supplier to Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. It has invested tens of millions of dollars in a production facility specifically to produce horizontal tail assemblies for the conventional take-off and landing variant of the F-35.