An artist's impression of the C295W in Canadian search-and-rescue colors.
(Image: Airbus DS)
Canada selected the Airbus C295W to meet its long-standing fixed-wing search-and-rescue (FWSAR) requirement. The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) will buy 16 of the twin turboprops with modifications that allow the aircraft to airdrop para-rescue forces. Deliveries will start three years after conclusion of the contract, which will be worth a reported $2.3 billion. The C295Ws will replace aging DHC-5 Buffalo and C-130H Hercules.
Fernando Alonso, Airbus Defence and Space head of military aircraft, described the win as “a massive vote [of] confidence for the C295 from a highly demanding customer. Coming at a time when the medium turboprop sector is in something of a downcycle, it is a clear sign that the C295's robustness, reliability and cost-effectiveness will ensure that it remains the market leader.” Airbus DS has now sold 185 C295s to 25 countries, and claims two-thirds of the market.
Canada selected the winglet-equipped C295W over the Alenia C-27J and the Embraer KC-390. Commenting on the Canadian evaluation last June, Airbus DS head of sales and marketing Jean Pierre Talamoni said the company “had spent millions on a complex bid, and persuaded Canada to adjust its specification.” The C-27J has longer range, which would have been a consideration in Canada’s vast northern regions, but Airbus D&S claims that the maintenance and fuel costs of the Italian machine are double those of the C-295W.
The C295W features substantial Canadian content. It is powered by uprated Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127Gs; pilots will be trained at a new facility developed by CAE; and the electro-optical systems for FWSAR will be provided by L3 Wescam. In-service support for the life of the program (20 years) will be provided by AirPro, a joint venture between Airbus Defence and Space and Canadian company PAL Aerospace.
Meanwhile, Airbus DS has been demonstrating the C295W as an air-to-air refueler (AAR). Last September, it flight-tested the palletized AAR system that it has developed, by hookingup with another C295. Within the last few weeks, it has refueled a helicopter using the same system.
(Chris Pocock - AINOnline News)