Canada is set to close a tender for a new Fix Wing Search and Rescue (FWSAR) aircraft on 11 January. Making a bid are FNM Aeronautics (formerly Alenia Aermacchi) with its C-27J Spartan, Airbus with its C295 and reportedly, Embraer with its yet-to-finish-development KC-390. Also, Lockheed Martin wil probably pitch its C-130J Super Hercules.
The closing of the tender marks the beginning of a selection in which the Brazilian KC-390 is definitely an outsider with a marginally chance of winning. The new aircraft should replace ageing de Havilland CC-115 Buffalos and Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules aircraft needed for other tasks.
The CC-115 has been in service for nearly five decades, providing long range SAR coverage over vast empty oceans and vast empty stretches of Arctic ice. The new aircraft is to do exactly the same.
Canada’s quest for an FWSAR aircraft has been a prolonged one. It started in 2004 and should have materialized into a ready aircraft in 2009. For various and mainly political reasons, that never happened.
The new type should be selected later in 2016 and deliveries are to start in 2018 with completion in 2023. A number of 17 aircraft has been mentioned, but it remains to be seen wether that will actually be the number on the final contract.
Frankly meant just to share a fun picture of an essential service of the Royal Canadian Air Force, we at AIRheads↑Fly would like to bring your attention the recent joint military/civilian rescue exercise (SAREX) in Abbotsford, British Columbia, held from 25 to 28 February 2014.
As Rear-Admiral William Truelove, Victoria Search and Rescue Region commander and the commander of Joint Task Force Pacific, puts it strikingly: “Collective search and rescue efforts between the Canadian Armed Forces, other government departments and volunteer organizations help promote education and training, which is fundamental to saving lives.” Amen to that!
The 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron from 19 Wing Comox provided CH-149 Cormorant helicopters and CC-115 Buffalo aircraft, serviced and flown by more than 70 members of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). They were joined by 35 members of the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) in Abbotsford, that provided aircraft and assistance – including in the role of spotter onboard a searching aircraft. Aircrews practiced homing in on emergency locator beacons, parachuting to crash scenes and evacuating patients from remote areas. The team practiced their collective ability to respond to a plane crash.
Hope and Chilliwack areas of the Lower Mainland were used to conduct the exercise. The SAR assets were guided by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre for the Victoria Search and Rescue Region (SRR). This SRR includes a astonishing 920,000 square kilometres (571,783 sqm) of mainly mountainous terrain in British Columbia and the Yukon, extending approximately 600 nautical miles offshore into the Pacific Ocean.
JRCC Victoria is one of three JRCCs in Canada operated by the Canadian Armed Forces in conjunction with the Canadian Coast Guard. The others are in Trenton (Ontario) and Halifax (Nova Scotia). Theyr are manned 24/7 by Canadian Forces and Canadian Coast Guard personnel.