The Government of Canada has selected the Airbus C295W aircraft for its Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue Program (FWSAR).
As part of the FWSAR program, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) will receive 16 C295Ws modified for Search and Rescue (SAR).
The new planes are meant to replace the nearly 50-year-old CC-115 Buffalos and older model CC-130 Hercules transports currently assigned to search-and-rescue duties by the RCAF.
The contract will also include in-service support, provided through a joint venture between Airbus Defence and Space and PAL Aerospace.
“We are acutely conscious of the importance of search and rescue in Canada’s vast and challenging territory and we are honoured to have been selected to provide the aircraft and service to ensure that the role is carried out effectively,” said Simon Jacques, head of Airbus Defence and Space in Canada.
The C295W features substantial Canadian content. Every C295 is powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada engines; pilots and technicians will be trained at a new facility developed by CAE in Comox, B.C.; and the electro-optical systems for FWSAR will be provided by L3 Wescam of Burlington, Ontario.
In-service support for the life of the program will be provided by AirPro, a joint venture between Airbus Defence and Space and PAL Aerospace of St John’s, Newfoundland. In-service support will be conducted by Canadians in Canada.
“About 20 per cent of the aircraft is already Canadian, meaning that it already serves as a global ambassador for the skills, innovation and expertise of Canadians,” said Jacques. “Now it will get to serve them directly.”
Canada’s C295Ws will be delivered starting three years after contract award. In service, they will join five Airbus CC-150 aircraft used in the air-to-air refuelling, transport and VIP travel roles.
When the contract is finalized, 185 C295s will have been ordered by 25 countries.