The Liberal government is set to announce the winner of the $3 billion Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue Aircraft Replacement Project, but national media sources are reporting the training facility will be located in Comox, with Airbus selected as the winning bid.
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, along with Procurement Minister Judy Foote and the Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force Lt.-Gen. Michael Hood, will make the announcement Thursday morning (Dec. 9) at 5:30 a.m. PDT at CFB Trenton.
According to sources, the Airbus C-295 turboprop military transport plane was selected over the Italian-based Team Spartan’s C-27J (Leonardo) and a KC-390 jet manufactured by Brazil’s Embraer.
It is reported Airbus has teamed with Provincial Aerospace, which will handle in-service support for the planes, and CAE of Montreal, which will provide the training and simulators for the aircrew.
In October, Hood told Vancouver media 19 Wing Comox was the chosen base for the facility, beating out 17 Wing Winnipeg (Man.), 8 Wing Trenton (Ont.) and 14 Wing Greenwood (NS).
The replacement project is a federal initiative to not only replace the aging planes currently being used in search and rescue ops, but also to integrate to a single nationwide fleet. Currently, there are two types of SAR planes being used: the CC-115 Buffalo and CC-130 legacy Hercules.
The Record is following this story as it develops, and will have updates with local reaction after the official announcement is made.