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Canada says talking to five manufacturers about new fighter jets

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada said on Friday it was reaching out to five aircraft manufacturers as part of a drawn-out and troubled bid to replace the country's aging fleet of CF-18 jets.

Canada announced in 2010 it would buy Lockheed-Martin Corp's F-35, but later reversed course, amid soaring cost estimates.

Ottawa has set aside C$9 billion ($8.9 billion) to buy the jets.

The public works ministry, confirming earlier leaks from senior government officials, said in a statement on Friday that Ottawa would talk to Lockheed Martin and four other firms:

* Boeing Co , which makes the F-18 Super Hornet

* EADS , which makes the Eurofighter

* Saab AB , which makes the Gripen

* Dassault Aviation , which makes the Rafale

(Reporting by David Ljunggren)

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