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Naming of new RCAF planes stalled by legal issues
VICTORIA -- Four months after the Royal Canadian Air Force was due to announce the official name of Canada's newest search and rescue plane, the Department of National Defence is still dealing with legal and trademark issues around naming the aircraft.
In July, the RCAF rolled out a short list of five pre-approved names for the Airbus CC-295 fixed-wing rescue plane. The names, which National Defence said had already been cleared to ensure there were no issues with trademark or intellectual property rights, were then presented to the public to vote on.
Nearly 33,000 people voted for their preferred name and the feedback was sent to RCAF Commander Al Meinzinger for a final decision to be announced in November.
Today, those names are still "undergoing legal, contractual, and trademark vetting," according to National Defence spokesperson Maj. Jill Lawrence.
"With a finite number of staff, the work to finalize the name of the CC-295 carries on in the background, but at a slower pace than initially anticipated," Lawrence told CTV News.
National Defence says the delay in naming the aircraft has not added to the cost of the multibillion-dollar project and has not stalled the aircraft's introduction into RCAF operations.
The list of potential names for the 16 new planes includes Canso II, Guardian, Iris, Kingfisher and Turnstone. There is no indication when the final name will be announced.
The naming issue isn’t the first setback for the fixed-wing search and rescue (FWSAR) aircraft replacement program.
The first of the new twin-propeller planes was due to be delivered by the European manufacturer before Dec. 1, but an issue with the aircraft operator's manual forced Canadian military officials to refuse delivery until the end of the month.
The federal government ordered the Airbus CC-295 in December 2016 to replace the decades-old de Havilland CC-115 Buffalo and Lockheed Martin C-130E Hercules in the search and rescue role.
The initial $2.4-billion deal with Airbus included the construction of a new training facility at 19 Wing Comox, plus an additional $2.3 billion to support and maintain the aircraft for 15 years.
All military and civilian personnel will be trained to operate and maintain the planes in Comox. Once operational, the search and rescue aircraft will be based in Comox, Winnipeg, Trenton and Nova Scotia.