The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) has taken delivery of the first future fixed-wing search and rescue CC-295 aircraft from Airbus.
Canada purchased the aircraft for RCAF’s Fixed Wing Search and Rescue Aircraft Replacement (FWSAR) project.
This is part of the government’s plans to equip the RCAF with modern aircraft to carry out search and rescue missions across the country.
The new fleet will be named Kingfisher, after the kingfisher bird, which is known for agility, speed and searching and hunting skills.
The aircraft features integrated sensors, which are expected to detect persons or objects from over 40km away.
Its communications systems have been designed to enhance interoperability with CH-149 Cormorant and other search and rescue assets.
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In October, contractor Airbus Defence & Space unveiled RCAF’s first C295 aircraft with its final livery at its facility in Seville, Spain.
In July last year, Airbus completed the flight of the first C295 aircraft for the RCAF.
Worth C$2.4bn ($1.86bn), the Kingfisher fleet will consist of 16 aircraft, which will replace the current CC-115 Buffalo and CC-130H Hercules fleets at four locations in the country.
The aircraft will be located at 19 Wing Comox as the RCAF finishes aircrew training and operational testing.
Deliveries of the aircraft are expected to continue until 2022.
Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan said: “As outlined in Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, it is essential that our search and rescue crews have the modern and effective aircraft they need to carry out this critical work.
“I am thrilled at the arrival of this first CC-295 Kingfisher in Comox as it represents another successful milestone for this project, while also supporting our mission of being strong at home.”
In 2016, the Canadian Government selected Airbus Defence and Space’s C295W aircraft for its fixed-wing search-and-rescue (FWSAR) programme.