Mark Collins – New RCAF Tanker Aircraft Depends on New Fighter Type Selection (when?)

Further to these posts,

Things Looking Better For F-35 in Canada

RCAF: Decisions Needed on Extending CF-18 Hornets’ Service to 2025

a very related procurement decision awaits:

Polaris replacement will have to wait until decision on new fighter jet, says RCAF commander

The RCAF has plans to replace its CC-150 Polaris refuelling tankers [RCAF webpage here] but is holding off until the Liberal government makes its decision on what type of aircraft will be selected to replace the CF-18s.

“That will determine the requirements of the next tanker aircraft,” RCAF commander Lt.-Gen. Michael Hood recently explained to MPs. “So whether it is a probe-and-drogue, as we use right now [USN/USMC system too], or a boom that flies into a refuelling receptacle [which is what the USAF uses for F-35A and all other planes–see: “Issues Analysis: Aerial Refueling, Northern Defence and the F-35″–USAF does most of our far north tanking], we will replace the tanker aircraft with whatever our front-line fighter is at the time.”

“We know that the lifespan of the Airbus is 2026 right now, so that decision has to be taken regardless,” he added.

Hood also pointed out that of Canada’s two Polaris aircraft, one is assigned to the Iraq mission and the other is in heavy maintenance and not available. (There is a C-130 refueling aircraft available out of Winnipeg for NORAD duties, he added.)

Privately military officers suggest the Liberal government’s decision on a CF-18 replacement is a long way off.
Hood suggested there are ways to deal with potential delays in any Polaris replacement program [emphasis added].

“In fact, recently we leased a tanker to bring some aircraft back overseas,” he revealed. “There are options that will allow us to mitigate whatever program challenges we have.”

Very relevant:

Keeping the CF-18 fleet flying beyond 2025 – is it possible?

When will anything ever actually be acquired?

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds


2 thoughts on “Mark Collins – New RCAF Tanker Aircraft Depends on New Fighter Type Selection (when?)”

  1. More on CC-150 Polaris tankers at DID (further links at original):

    “True North: L-3 Supporting Canada’s A310/MRTT Fleet

    In August 2013, L-3 Communications’ MAS division in Mirabel, PQ received a 5-7 year, C$ 683 million / $669 million continuation of their 2012 complete in-service support (ISS) contract for Canada’s 5 CC-150 Polaris external link aircraft. The full amount will only be realized if the 2-year option is exercised. L-3 MAS will be responsible for overall program management, materiel management, engineering support, flightline maintenance, and heavy maintenance, plus component maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services.

    The Polaris fleet are Airbus A310s based at CFB Trenton, ON, and 2 of the 5 have been converted to add probe-and-drogue aerial refueling to their standard roles of VIP transport, passenger/ medical transport, or up to 32 tonnes of standard cargo. The A310 MRTT was Airbus’ 1st foray into aerial tankers, and until recently, the converted German and Canadian air force planes were their only operational examples. In the last couple of years, deliveries of the larger, dual refueling mode A330 MRTT/ KC-30 to Australia, Britain, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE have changed that picture, placing Airbus on a more even operational footing with Boeing. Sources: L-3, Aug 15/13 release | RCAF…

    Mark Collins

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