This website uses cookies to manage authentication, navigation, and other functions. By using our website, you agree that we can place these types of cookies on your device.

Canada issues call for tenders to replace aging search and rescue aircraft fleet

a
World Defense & Security News - Canada
 
 
Canada issues call for tenders to replace aging search and rescue aircraft fleet
 
The Canadian government has issued a long-awaited call for tenders to replace country's aging fixed-wing search planes, more than a decade after the project was first proposed, related local medias. Canada's Public Works secretariat overseeing the program is asking the defence industry not only for aircraft, but also a capability-based solution, which means would-be contractors can propose details such as where the planes should be based.
     
The Canadian government has issued a long-awaited call for tenders to replace country's aging fixed-wing search planes, more than a decade after the project was first proposed, related local medias. Canada's Public Works secretariat overseeing the program is asking the defence industry not only for aircraft, but also a capability-based solution, which means would-be contractors can propose details such as where the planes should be based.
RCAF's CC-115 Buffalo SAR aircraft
     
The Canadian federal government also wants contractors to include 20 years of in-service support and maintenance in their proposal.

The Royal Canadian Air Force is looking to replace six CC-115 Buffalo SAR aicraft, which are more than 50 years old, and 13 older C-130 Hercules military airlifters, which have been the backbone of Canada's rescue response, particularly in the Arctic.

The CC-130 Hercules now performs many of Eastern Canada’s SAR operations, but the short take-off and landing (STOL) capabilities of the CC-115 have kept it in use in the Rocky and Coastal Mountain ranges. At 24 m long, the Buffalo is small enough to service the rough and mountainous terrain on Canada’s West Coast.

All six Canadian Forces CC-115s are employed by 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron out of Comox, BC. The squadron is responsible for a SAR zone stretching from the BC–Washington border to the Arctic, and from the Rocky Mountains to 1,200 km out over the Pacific Ocean. With a maximum load of 2,727 kg—or 41 fully equipped soldiers—the Buffalo has an operational range of 2,240 km.

The delayed effort to replace the planes has been a procurement black eye for the Conservatives, especially since the program was declared "a top priority" by former defence minister Peter MacKay in 2008.

Federal budget documents suggest the government doesn't anticipate receiving new aircraft until 2018, and National Defence's own acquisition says that time frame could be pushed to 2021 — or 17 years after the program was initially proposed.

Under the Liberals, the program was pegged at $1.3 billion, but government documents suggest it's now more than $1.5 billion.

It's expected there will be only three companies bidding — Alenia Aermacchi with the C-27J Spartan; Airbus Military with the C-295 and Lockheed Martin's C-130J.

The program was initially knocked off track after the air force was accused of rigging the specifications to eliminate all competitors, except for the Italian-built C-27J.

Protests from industry were so loud that MacKay ordered the National Research Council to review the plan, and it reported back that the military's specifications were far too narrow and needed to be broadened in order to ensure competition.

What followed the 2009 report was years of industry consultations.

Despite the backlash to the original proposal, the RCAF last year continued to pitch the C-27J, telling the government that 17 surplus U.S. aircraft represented "a unique, time-sensitive investment opportunity" for Canada.

Internal documents showed military planners pitched the notion of acquiring those transports that were being sold by the Pentagon three years ago as part of a massive budget-cutting exercise south of the border.