Royal Canadian Air Force F-18 Hornets end their contribution to the fight against Daesh forces in Iraq and Syria in two weeks, the Canadian government announced on Monday 8 February. The Canadian mission went by the name of Operation Impact and until 1 February totalled 237 air strikes.
Canada’s liberal prime-minister Justin Trudeau was sworn into office last November and had promised voters to stop Canadian bombing. Trudeau now lives up to that promise, much to the dismay of the US and coalition partners.
The aircraft from Canada started their contribution on 2 November 2014, flying only missions over Iraq. In April 2015, the Canadian government also authorized missions over Syria. Six F-18 Hornets and CC-150 Polaris tanker were involved. The aircraft operated from Kuwait all the time.
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.