The Airbus C295W will replace the aging fleet of Buffalo and Hercules aircraft currently being used in Canada. Dean Stoltz has more.
An Airbus C295W made in Spain by Airbus stopped at 19 Wing Comox Monday.
The particular plane is owned by the Brazilian Airforce and is on a world tour of 25 countries that have purchased the same plane.
“As you are probably aware we’ve been flying the Buffalo for 50 years this year so it’s nice to see something new on the ramp.” said Lieutenant Colonel Bryn Elliott, commanding officer of 442 Squadron.
The 16 planes ordered by Canada will be ready for delivery in 2020.
19 Wing Comox will receive five planes.
“Yes there is lots of excitement” added Elliott.
“We had a really good show from 442 and the entire base at 19 Wing to come and look at it because they are interested in seeing what the technology is, seeing how they will be employed because certain people will be doing different roles on this airplane.”
“The range of the aircraft on a basic configuration is up to 3000 nautical miles which is far beyond what the Buffalo can do right now.” said Airbus tactical crew member Gerardo Gomez.
The increased flight distance and time compared to the older uffalos will benefit search and rescues.
The planes are also vastly different when it comes to avionics and computer systems.
The C295W has an advanced camera on board and other capabilities that will make searching very different.
“It’s trying to take a bit of the search out of search and rescue so it’s a centre package that we’ll have infrared, we’ll have a very sophisticated radar, we’ll have sophisticated cameras on board so right now we’re trusting our eyes to do the searching, this one will have both our eyes as well as technology behind us.” added Elliott.
The contract with Airbus is worth $2.3 billion that could grow to $4.3 billion with a maintenance option.
Canadian components on the plane are two Pratt and Whitney engines as well as the Wescam camera in the plane’s nose which is made in Burlington, Ont.
There will also be a Canadian made flight simulator at a new training centre that will be built at 19 Wing Comox opening in 2019.