The Harper government is confirming it will spend $16 billion for the latest generation of fighter jets from Lockheed Martin.
But the government is fending off complaints that making one of the biggest military purchases in Canadian history without a single competing bid is a waste of taxpayer money.
The Liberals and a former public servant who once headed the purchase project say the massive F-35 Joint Strike Fighter purchase should have been subjected to competitive bids.
The total value of the contract is expect to rival the amount spent by the Conservatives four years ago when they rolled out a series of high-profile military purchases of transport planes, helicopters and armoured trucks.
The 65 new jets would replace the Air Force's aging fleet of CF-18s that recently underwent a $2.6 billion upgrade.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay had assured Parliament there would be a competitive process for the selection of new planes, but cabinet decided to go with an untendered contract.
The government committed $9 billion to buy the 65 planes from Lockheed Martin, and the first aircraft is to be delivered by 2016, said a statement from the Defence Department.
But the overall cost is expected to soar to $16 billion when a 20-year maintenance contract is factored in.
"We're very pleased with the decision and are committed to supporting the government of Canada in moving forward with the F-35 Program Integration," Lockeed Martin executive vice president Tom Burbage said in a statement.