The US State Department on Tuesday authorized the $5.2 billion sale of 18 Super Hornet jet fighters and associated equipment to the Canadian military, in a deal that may depend on the resolution of a separate trade dispute.
The Canadian government placed the order a year ago to partially replace its ageing fleet of fleet of F-18s.
But Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has warned he could call the deal off if the aircraft’s manufacturer Boeing does not drop a Washington-backed anti-dumping lawsuit it filed against Canadian aerospace firm Bombardier.
The order is not intended to replace Canada’s planned procurement of F-35 stealth fighters, a source of ongoing controversy over its spiraling costs.
“This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally which has been, and continues to be, a key democratic partner,” the State Department said in a statement, which added the sale had not been concluded.
Boeing filed its lawsuit against Bombardier in spring, alleging that it sold its last CSeries aircraft below its manufacturing costs after receiving more than $3 billion in public subsidies.
Boeing claims Bombardier sold American Delta Airlines 75 CS100 aircraft for $19.6 million, despite manufacturing costs of $33.2 million.
The US is set to decide whether to impose anti-dumping restrictions in October.
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May is set to meet Trudeau on Monday and will seek to persuade Washington to drop the case.
Bombardier employs 8,000 workers in Northern Ireland, whose Democratic Union Party is crucial to May’s majority in Parliament.