Calgary company nets CF-18 maintenance deal

A Canadian Forces CF-18 sits in its hangar at the air base in Inuvik, Northwest Territories on Thursday Aug. 28, 2008. The federal government has contracted Calgary-based Harris Canada Inc. for avionics maintenance of its CF-18 fighter jets until their replacements are ready to fly. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tom Hanson

CALGARY - The federal government has contracted Calgary-based Harris Canada Inc. for avionics maintenance of its CF-18 fighter jets until their replacements are ready to fly.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay says the contract allows Canada to keep the CF-18's flying until the new F-35 Lightning II takes to the skies.

The competitive contract, valued at $273.8 million, covers the repair, overhaul, engineering, management and life-cycle support of the electronic systems on the CF-18s.

Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose says the contract will support high quality jobs in the area.

More than 40 full-time positions will be maintained in Calgary annually for the duration of the up to nine year contract.

The CF-18 fleet is scheduled to be retired and replaced by the F-35 fighter aircraft in 2020.

Jim Prentice, regional minister for Southern Alberta says the contract will help strengthen the aerospace industry in the region "for years to come."