The first of 16 CC-295 search and rescue aircraft has rolled off the Airbus assembly line in Spain and should be in the RCAF’s hands by the end of the year. The aircraft, an SAR version of the Airbus C-295 tactical transport aircraft, was chosen as the RCAF’s next fixed wing search and rescue in 2016 and will be in operation early in 2020. The plane will replace Buffalo and C-130H aircraft and their deployment will fundamentally change the way search and rescue resources are dispatched in Canada.
Currently, C-130Hs cover most of the North and East from Trenton, Ontario while B.C. and part of the West is served by Buffalos and Cormorant helicopters at CFB Comox. Comox will be the main base for the new aircraft and will host a new training and crew development centre. CC-295s will also be based in Winnipeg and Greenwood, Nova Scotia, which should cut dispatch times in many areas of the country. There are also plans to deploy the aircraft to northern forward bases to provide timely services in the North when required.