First look: Canada’s newest search and rescue plane rolls off production line
VICTORIA -- The first of Canada's new search and rescue planes has rolled off the production line in Spain, ready for expected delivery to the Royal Canadian Air Force by the end of the year.
The Airbus CC-295 is one of 16 new twin-propeller aircraft Canada ordered in December 2016 to replace the decades-old de Havilland CC-115 Buffalo and Lockheed Martin C-130E Hercules planes in the air force’s fixed-wing search and rescue role.
Airbus Defence and Space released photos of the first fully painted CC-295, with its distinctive high-visibility RCAF colour scheme, as it left the company’s paint shop in Seville, Spain last week.
Six more CC-295s are now either completing test flights or in the final phases of assembly, according to Airbus.
RCAF crews arrived in the European country in late summer to begin training at the company’s international flight centre.
Once operational, the search and rescue aircraft will be based in Comox, Winnipeg, Trenton and Nova Scotia.
Part of the $4.7-billion contract with Airbus included building a new training facility at 19 Wing Comox and a new flight simulator. The facility is expected to be in full operation by November 2020.
Comox is where all military and civilian personnel will be trained to operate the new aircraft.
Meanwhile, a list of potential names for the new planes was put forward by the Department of National Defence over the summer and garnered more than 33,000 votes online.
The names Canso II, Guardian, Iris, Kingfisher and Turnstone were all on the short list.
The Defence department is expected to announce the winning name in November.