Airbus Defence and Space and Provincial Aerospace (PAL) have established a new venture, AirPro SAR Services (AirPro), in anticipation of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) fixed-wing search-and-rescue (FWSAR) project.

Under the terms of the agreement, PAL will provide in-service support (ISS) and other expertise for the fleet of C295 aircraft being offered by Airbus for the multi-billion dollar programme.

Airbus Defence and Space Special Projects senior vice-president commercial Antonio Rodriguez-Barberan said: "AirPro brings together Provincial Aerospace and Airbus Defence and Space as the Canadian ISS integrator in our proposal for the FWSAR programme.

"AirPro is a joint venture that reflects the Airbus Defence and Space commitment to Canadian Industry."

"We are excited to have submitted our bid for Canada’s new fleet of search and rescue aircraft. AirPro offers Canada and Canadian industry a unique opportunity to capitalise upon the global experience of Airbus Defence and Space and Provincial Aerospace."

The Airbus C295 team also includes other Canadian companies, namely Pratt & Whitney Canada, CAE, L-3 Wescam and Vector Aerospace.

Provincial Aerospace CEO Brian Chafe said: "AirPro is a joint venture that reflects the Airbus Defence and Space commitment to Canadian Industry.

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"Provincial Aerospace brings significant ISS experience to AirPro and is providing ISS services to similar missionised military and paramilitary aircraft domestically and internationally.

Also pursued by Alenia Aermacchi, Viking Air, Lockheed Martin, Embraer and Bell-Boeing, the FWSAR contract was anticipated to be awarded in early 2014, with delivery of the first aircraft expected in 2017.

Launched in 2002, the FWSAR project aims to replace RCAF’s ageing CC-115 Buffalo and 13 CC-130 Hercules search-and-rescue (SAR) aircraft fleet.

Image: A CC-115 Buffalo in Ottawa. Photo: courtesy of Ahunt / Wikipedia.