C295W Fixed Wing Search and Rescue Aircraft for the Royal Canadian Air Force eventually delivered.
On Jan. 28, 2020, EADS C295W #295517 msn 187, the first for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), landed at Lajes Airfield, in the Azores, on the first leg of its delivery flight.
The aircraft, that will be designated CC-295 by the RCAF, adopts its distinctive Search and Rescue colours following the tradition defined in the 1970s for Search and Rescue aircraft, to give the aircraft high visibility for those in the air and on the ground.
The C295W was being ferried by a Spanish crew using callsign “AED987”, with AED standing for the EADS CASA plant in Seville. The Portuguese Air Force, Air Base 4 and Wexjet Aviation Support at Lajes, Terceira Island, in the Azores, hosted the aircraft.
The aircraft #295517 is not one of the first of 16 included in a contract awarded in December 2016 but a trainer for maintenance crews. As part of a program named FWSAR, Fixed wing Search and Rescue Aircraft Replacement, Canada will get 16 SAR aircraft and all In-Service Support elements including, training and engineering services, the construction of a new Training Centre in Comox, British Columbia, and maintenance and support services.
The aircraft will replace the de Havilland CC-115 Buffalo and Lockheed Martin CC-130 Hercules used in a search and rescue role and will be based where search and rescue squadrons are currently located: Comox, British Columbia; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Trenton, Ontario; and Greenwood, Nova Scotia.
The first RCAF crews with the 418 Search and Rescue Operational Training Squadron started training in late summer 2019 at Airbus’ International Training Centre in Seville, Spain.
The delivery of first C295W was initially planned by the end of 2019, but issues with the flight and technical manuals (that are a critical part of the documentation required to safely operate the fleet) delayed the acceptance of the new aircraft.