Mark Collins – New RCAF Fixed-Wing SAR Plane Choice Real Soon?

Further to these January and February posts respectively,

RCAF Fixed-Wing SAR Bids In: No LockMart But Embraer
[links to the contending aircraft at the post]

New RCAF Fixed-Wing SAR: Evaluation of Bids Starts

it looks like we’ll have a winner (this now twelve-year old acquisition process–a “major priority” in 2004!–having been rather lost in the new fighter hoo-hah, more on that here):

Canada to take December decision on SAR aircraft -sources

Canada’s federal government is expected to take a decision in early December on new fixed-wing search-and-rescue aircraft, with Airbus Group SE’s C-295 and Leonardo Aircraft’s C-27J Spartan emerging as front-runners [as in forever], two aerospace industry sources familiar with the matter said.

The federal Treasury Board is expected on Dec. 8 to authorize the government to enter into a contract with the winning bidder for the purchase and in-service support of aircraft, a third industry source said on Thursday [Nov. 24].

All three sources spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal is not public and the timing of the Treasury Board decision could be changed.

The value and number of aircraft in the procurement have not yet been made public, a spokesman for Canada’s National Defence Department said. The value of the deal, including the acquisition and in-service support, has been estimated in media reports at about C$3 billion ($2.22 billion).

Embraer’s KC-390 is also part of the competition, but the aircraft is not expected to win because the program is still in development and Canada’s government wants an aircraft that is already certified, two of the sources said.

The Canadian government has said the SAR aircraft procurement will allow the Royal Canadian Air Force to replace its current fixed-wing fleet of six CC-115 Buffalo aircraft and 13 CC-130H Hercules aircraft that are being used in Canada for search-and-rescue missions…

Note from the end of the first link at the top of this post:

Something else to keep in mind–the RCAF’s 32 older-model Hercules are being followed-on by just 17 new C-130Js, so the RCAF has always wanted the new SAR aircraft to be able to double when necessary as a tactical transport in order to keep that capability up (see e.g. 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron):

“…
Air force Col. Dave Burt, director of aerospace requirements, said at the time [2004] that search and rescue was the priority, adding that the service wanted “something that is smaller and (more) cost efficient than a Hercules but still has some of the transport-type qualities that a Hercules has.”

Although the aircraft would be used for search and rescue, there may be room to have them perform a secondary role of airlift if that is deemed feasible, Burt added…”

Something that has not been mentioned for years for no good reason that I can understand…

And I’ll bet you dollars to Timbits–air-droppable to those in needImage result for timbits
Image result for timbits
–that the tactical transport role won’t be mentioned now.

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

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