The CC-295 Aircraft Maintenance Trainer (AMT) for Canada’s Fixed Wing Search and Rescue Aircraft Replacement (FWSAR) project has arrived in the country after departing from Seville, Spain.
This specific aircraft — a training variant of the CC-295 — is being flown by an Airbus Defence and Space flight crew as it makes its way to its new home in the soon-to-be search and rescue (SAR) training centre at 19 Wing, Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Comox in B.C.
The AMT will stop at all of the RCAF’s fixed-wing search and rescue bases across Canada on its way to Comox, including 14 Wing Greenwood, N.S.; 8 Wing Trenton, Ont.; and 17 Wing Winnipeg, Man. These brief visits are meant to provide RCAF personnel with an advanced look at this important training tool for the FWSAR fleet.
When the maintenance trainer arrives in Comox, it will be disassembled, then reassembled inside the new training centre, which is a keystone step in building the CC-295’s maintenance training program.
The AMT is not designed nor equipped to conduct operational SAR missions, and as such, is not one of the 16 aircraft procured under the FWSAR project; rather, it is an important part of the training solution for the new fleet. It will be used to instruct technicians on the removal and installation of various aircraft parts and components, and other aspects of hands-on maintenance, before they conduct work on operational aircraft. The first of the standard Canadian version of the aircraft, which will be fully equipped to perform SAR missions, will begin arriving in Canada later this year.
In addition to the aircraft maintenance trainer, the new SAR training centre will use a variety of modern training devices such as full-motion flight simulators, sensor station simulators, and much more.
In late 2016, Canada announced that it had selected the Airbus C295W for its FWSAR program. The contract to Airbus includes 16 C295 aircraft and all In-Service Support elements including, training and engineering services, the construction of a new Training Centre in Comox, British Columbia, and maintenance and support services.
The new aircraft will take over the search and rescue duties currently being done by six CC-115 Buffalo and 12 CC-130 Hercules aircraft. They will be based where search and rescue squadrons are currently located: Comox, British Columbia; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Trenton, Ontario; and Greenwood, Nova Scotia.
The first RCAF CC-295 aircraft performed its maiden flight on July 4 last year in Seville, Spain and was delivered to the Air Force on Dec. 20. The aircraft fleet is expected to achieve initial operational capability with the RCAF this year and full operational capability in 2022.