OTTAWA - Defence planners are mulling over making Canada home to an advanced international training course for the F-35 — provided the Conservative government proceeds with the contentious stealth fighter program.
The proposal would see pilots who are qualified on the aircraft conduct weapons training at Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake in northern Alberta.
The airfield is already home to an air-to-ground weapons school for the country's fleet of CF-18s.
Defence sources say the proposition would open up instruction on the F-35 to other countries that are part of the stealth-fighter program.
Canada's air force has acknowledged it is conducting a wide-ranging assessment of its future fast-jet training needs, and options.
The government says it's premature to talk about F-35 training, but New Democrat critic Matthew Kellway said he fears the training-school idea is being offered up as a reward for sticking with the stealth-fighter program.