19 Wing Comox is one of three contenders vying for a new national training centre location for a Fixed Wing Search and Rescue (FWSAR) project that will replace aging Buffalo and Hercules aircraft.
The other contenders are 8 Wing Trenton in Ontario and 14 Wing Greenwood in Nova Scotia.
The Comox Valley Economic Development Society (CVEDS) and a working group comprising retired senior military officers and representatives from the Comox Valley Airport have developed a discussion paper that presents the Valley and 19 Wing as the logical choice for the eventual location of a new training centre. The Vancouver Island Aerospace Group also provided input.
“This would be a really good addition to what we currently do at 19 Wing and in the region,” said CVEDS executive director John Watson, who attended the recent Aerospace, Defence and Security Expo in Abbotsford.
The federal government has issued a Request for Proposal for the project. Companies that submit bids are expected to recommend locations for future operations, training and maintenance.
“We wish to communicate the benefits of Comox for training pilots, the degree that such training can occur here year-round,” Watson said. “Those attributes are certainly the basis for which we’re moving forward.”
The proposed fleet replacement project is likely to include a simulation aspect, Watson added.
Airport CEO/working committee member Fred Bigelow says 19 Wing Comox is the ideal location for pilot training due to the aerodrome’s capacity, and year-round training venues in mountainous areas and over water.
“Students who learn how to fly SAR missions here will be able to save lives anywhere,” he said in a news release.
The expo brought together national and international aerospace industry partners and the international defence community. The show provided a venue for businesses to learn about new defence procurement opportunities and to gain industry exposure.
For more information, visit fwsarcomoxvalley.com and www.adse.ca.