TRENTON – The federal government has announced a new $4.7 billion contract with Airbus Defence and Space for 16 new C-295 W aircrafts, which will be replacing the current search and rescue aircraft.
The announcement was made Thursday morning at CFB Trenton  by Procurement Minister Judy Foote, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and air force Lt.-Gen. Michael Hood.
Foote spoke of the diverse and challenging landscape these planes would be expected to deal with, and the important work that the Royal Canadian Air Force  deals with on a daily basis.
“For Canadians from coast to coast the Royal Canadian Air Force has a primary responsibility to provide aeronautical search and rescue services in Canada covering 18 million square kilometres,” she said.
The first wave of new planes will be ready for use in 2019, with a second wave set to follow them in 2022.
Sajjan said this morning that, “this aircraft is a game changer for search and rescue in Canada.”
“It is more than just a highly reliable versatile vehicle, it represents a great technological improvement for our search and rescue capabilities for the future,” he continued.
“We are in good shape with this contract, and in good hands with Airbus,” said Sajjan.
Sajjan then touched on the new technological abilities of the aircrafts and how they would be capable of handling Canada’s harsh terrain and environment.
“The aircraft advance and integrated senses and radars will allow to locate people in distress more easily even in low light conditions and inclement weather,” said Sajjan.
“This new mission management system will allow them to track up to 200 search objects at the same time, it’s cutting edge communications suite will enable rescue crews to share real time information with other aircraft, ships, ground search crews and the joint rescue co-ordination centres. Whether it is in the mountainous terrain, the middle of the Atlantic or over the Arctic, the C-295 is a modern and versatile aircraft that we need to continue our search and rescue missions day and night,” he emphasized.
Lt.-Gen. Hood said he believed that these new planes could have a huge impact on the success of search and rescue missions in the future as well.
“I believe search and rescue is going to become a lot less about search and a lot more about rescue,” said Hood.
The Trenton Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC Trenton), located at CFB Trenton, is the joint Canadian Armed Forces–Canadian Coast Guard centre for search-and-rescue monitoring and emergency response in the Trenton SRR.
JRCC Trenton is responsible for air and maritime SAR response under Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC).
JRCC Trenton responds to about 3,500 SAR calls per year.
The CC-130 Hercules air craft that were previously used for search and rescue missions may be put up for sale to the public or disposed of properly in a site, stated Lt.-Gen. Michael Hood.
Hood expressed his excitement for the new fleet as well as stating his confidence that they will be capable of performing the tasks asked of them.
“The C-295 W more than meets the requirements of a Canadian Air Force,” said Hood.