Royal Canadian Air Force Takes Delivery of its First Airbus C295 FWSAR Aircraft

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) took delivery of its first Airbus C295 Fixed Wing Search and Rescue (FWSAR) aircraft, Airbus announced.

With this delivery, the RCAF will initiate more testing, training and Initial Operational Test & Evaluation (IOT&E) operations in Spain which will be followed by the ferry flight to its home base in Comox, British Columbia, by mid-2020.

The first Airbus C295 FWSAR aircraft, to be designated CC-295 by the RCAF, was rolled out of the paint shop showing off its final livery at Airbus facility in Seville, Spain in October. The aircraft adopts the yellow paint scheme following the tradition defined in the 1970s for Search and Rescue aircraft, giving high visibility for those in the air and on the ground.

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 this year in Seville, Spain. The aircraft fleet is expected to achieve initial operational capability with the RCAF in 2020 and full operational capability in 2022.

RCAF’s C295/ CC-295 FWSAR Aircraft

The C295 variant that Canada is receiving is the latest version, equipped with winglets that make it capable of transporting more payload over larger distances, resulting in fuel savings as well as increased safety margins in mountainous regions.

Numerous enhancements are being introduced in the Canadian C295s, responding to the country’s specific search and rescue mission requirements. With the aircraft routinely operating in the harsh conditions of the North Atlantic, the C295s for Canada includes several improvement to guarantee crew safety, such as an advance avionics package compliant with the most demanding navigation regulations, reinforcements in the fuselage that improve ditching operations and a hatch to allow a rapid aircraft evacuation in case of a forced landing in the ocean.

Additionally, elements have been incorporated for aerodynamic drag reduction to improve time-on-station for the aircraft and increase the top speed during search and rescue missions. The C295 cabin interior is tailored to the Canadian Air Force’s operational, with such as a new wireless intercom system for crew communications, the increase of spaces for storing SAR equipment, additional lighting for medical evacuation duties and lighting compatible with the use of night vision systems.

The C295’s 41-ft.-long cabin is the largest in its class, providing ample space for both sensors and mission systems, as well as crew rest and preparation areas. The aircraft’s key capabilities include Search Radar, Electro-Optical/Infrared sensors and Automatic Identification System (AIS).

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