New aircraft will fundamentally change Canadian search and rescue

News Article / December 12, 2016

On December 8, 2016, it was announced that the Airbus C295W will be the new fixed wing search and rescue aircraft for the Royal Canadian Air Force, replacing the CC-115 Buffalo and the legacy CC-130H Hercules fleets. The commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Lieutenant-General Mike Hood, welcomed the news during the event held at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario. Here are his remarks.

This is a great day for the Royal Canadian Air Force and for Canadians.

I believe this new fleet, with the capability to fully integrate with our search and rescue partners, will fundamentally change the SAR paradigm for us.

Thanks to the sensors and systems aboard this new fleet of aircraft, I believe that Search and Rescue is going to become a lot less about search and a lot more about rescue.

And that’s great news.

You are already familiar with the outstanding work of our search and rescue crews. I’ve had the honour to lead these fantastic airmen and airwomen at the squadron and wing level and now – as the Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force – I continue to be extraordinarily proud of the work they do.

To the aircrew and maintainers, thank you. And also to your families for their unwavering commitment to this critical role and mission.

Our aircraft technicians maintain our SAR fleet to the highest standard and ensure our aircraft are ready to go when the call comes. Our aircrews persevere in their missions, fighting against the clock, Canadian weather and our geography to fly and search for those in need in the most demanding SAR environment in the world.

Our SAR techs willingly put themselves in harm’s way, battling the elements to rescue others. Their training is second to none, and our investment pays off in human lives saved – time and time again.

Therefore, as we bring in this new fleet of aircraft online, we will pay very close attention to the human element.

We will establish the right search and rescue training environment, with focussed leadership to ensure that we deliver on this aircraft’s full potential.

And, in the meantime, our technicians – who are doing outstanding work to maintain with our current fleets – will ensure we can continue to fly CC-130H Hercules and the CC-115 Buffalo aircraft until the transition is complete. These aircraft continue to serve Canada well, and their crews have responded to tens of thousands of calls for help over the years.

To conclude, our new fleet will be an essential part of the Canadian SAR response.

The RCAF SAR capability is but one part of the Canadian SAR response – with primary responsibility for aeronautical search and rescue. And we Fly In Formation with our partners at all levels of Government and with the selfless SAR volunteers who are the fabric of search and rescue in this great country. Our new fixed-wing search and rescue fleet will keep us agile, integrated with our SAR partners and provide the reach and power needed to provide search and rescue services for Canadians in our vast and magnificent country.

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