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The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) took delivery of its first Airbus CC-295 fixed-wing search and rescue (FWSAR) aircraft on Dec. 18.
The delivery itself seems to have been a low-key event without much fanfare. An Airbus spokesperson told Skies on Dec. 20 that the OEM had no plans to publish an official press release about the delivery. However, he referenced a brief tweet on the Airbus Defence & Space Twitter account, which was posted on Dec. 20, two days after the delivery reportedly occurred.
In November, Skies reported that complications with the CC-295’s technical manuals could delay the first delivery. Airbus unveiled the aircraft in RCAF livery in mid-October.
Members of RCAF 434 Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron have been at Airbus’s International Training Centre in Seville, Spain, since early fall to assess the aircraft. Airbus said on its website that the RCAF will “initiate more testing, training and Initial Operational Test & Evaluation operations in Spain, which will be followed by the ferry flight home” to Comox, B.C., in mid-2020.
In July, the RCAF asked the public to help choose the name of the new search and rescue aircraft, offering five choices: Canso II, Guardian, Iris, Kingfisher and Turnstone. RCAF Commander LGen Al Meinzinger will make the final decision, but no announcement has been made to date.
The Canadian FWSAR contract, awarded in December 2016, includes 16 CC-295 aircraft and all in-service support elements including training and engineering services, the construction of a new training centre in Comox, and maintenance and support services.
The aircraft will be based where search and rescue squadrons are currently located: Comox; Winnipeg, Man.; Trenton, Ont.; and Greenwood, N.S.