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Canadian Lt.-Gen. Charles Bouchard, who commanded the recent NATO military mission in Libya, gestures while speaking to the media on Saturday, November 19, 2011 at the Halifax International Security Forum taking place in Halifax, Nova Scotia.Mike Dembeck/The Canadian Press

The former commander in charge of leading NATO forces in Libya has been named to head the Canadian operations at defence contractor Lockheed Martin.

Retired Lt.Gen. Charles Bouchard will take on the role at the U.S. defence giant effective immediately.

Bouchard, who is an officer of the Order of Canada, retired in April 2012 after nearly four decades with the Royal Canadian Air Force. He commanded the NATO task force in Libya in 2011.

Earlier this month, the company warned that Canada's aerospace industry is at risk of losing about $10.5-billion worth of contracts over several decades if the federal government ultimately decides not to purchase the controversial F-35 Stealth Fighter.

Orlando Carvalho, the company's executive vice-president, said Lockheed will honour $500-million worth of business already awarded to Canadian partners but that other work would be in jeopardy without a Canadian jet order. Lockheed estimates that the Canadian industry could potentially receive $11-billion of contracts over 25 to 40 years as its builds 3,000 planes for air forces around the world.

The company researches, designs, develops and manufactures advanced technology systems, and reported net sales of $47.2-billion in 2012. Lockheed Martin Canada has more than 700 employees and offices located in Ottawa, Montreal, Dartmouth and Calgary.

The company is headquartered in Bethesda, Md., but has offices around the world and more than 100,000 workers.

"We added a tremendous leader to our organization today. Charles will facilitate access to Lockheed Martin's broad portfolio of products and technologies to help Canada address its security and citizen service challenges," Pat Dewar, executive vice-president at Lockheed Martin International, said in a statement.

"We highly value our customers in Canada and we're investing for long-term partnership and growth."

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