A fisherman was air-lifted to hospital last Thursday after he got injured while fishing for halibut off Benjamin Point, along the east coast of Moresby Island. A pair of search-and-rescue technicians jumped from a Cormorant helicopter into the water near the fishing boat, then boarded the boat with its tender. The SAR techs then prepared the man for a helicopter flight to Sandspit Airport, from which he was flown by plane to hospital. (442 Transport and Rescue Squadron/Submitted)

A fisherman was air-lifted to hospital last Thursday after he got injured while fishing for halibut off Benjamin Point, along the east coast of Moresby Island. A pair of search-and-rescue technicians jumped from a Cormorant helicopter into the water near the fishing boat, then boarded the boat with its tender. The SAR techs then prepared the man for a helicopter flight to Sandspit Airport, from which he was flown by plane to hospital. (442 Transport and Rescue Squadron/Submitted)

Military facing likely delay in delivery of new search-and-rescue plane

Exactly how long delivery could be delayed remains unclear

The Canadian Armed Forces is refusing to accept the first of its new search-and-rescue planes from European manufacturer Airbus because of concerns with the aircraft’s manuals.

The new plane was supposed to be delivered to the military by Dec. 1, but The Canadian Press has learned that is unlikely to happen as the company, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Department of National Defence wrangle over the manuals’ contents.

The manuals provide pilots, aircrew and technicians with necessary instructions and references for operating and maintaining the aircraft and are thousands of pages thick. The disagreement revolves around exactly which details Airbus needs to include in the documents.

Exactly how long delivery could be delayed remains unclear, though there are hopes the aircraft will still be accepted by the end of the year, which would have minimal impact on the Forces’ operations.

However, an extended delay could force the military to make adjustments with its existing aircraft, some of which are already decades old and long overdue for replacement.

The federal government ordered the military to start conducting search-and-rescue operations in 1947.

ALSO READ: Canadian Forces member charged with possessing magic mushrooms in Comox

The government receives about 10,000 distress calls a year, and while the majority are handled by the provinces or territories, with police and volunteers tasked with responding, about 750 of the most high-risk calls are answered by the military.

Military search-and-rescue personnel often use their specialized airplanes and helicopters to parachute or rappel into remote areas such as mountains, the high Arctic or one of Canada’s three oceans to respond to plane crashes and sinking ships.

The federal government announced three years ago that it would pay Airbus $2.4 billion for 16 CC-295 aircraft, which will replace the air force’s ancient Buffalo search-and-rescue planes and an old version of the RCAF’s Hercules aircraft.

The deal, which includes an option to pay Airbus another $2.3 billion to maintain and support the plane for 15 years, has been held up as one of the few major successes for Canada’s beleaguered military procurement system in recent years.

News of the expected delay follows revelations last week that Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax was pushing back delivery of the Royal Canadian Navy’s first Arctic and offshore patrol vessel. Already years overdue, the vessel had most recently slated for delivery at the end of 2019.

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Courtenay resident labours to remove the snow build-up from around her car in February 2019. The area may see snow throughout the coming weekend. Black Press file photo
Snow, winter not done with the Comox Valley quite yet

Flurries, snow and cold temps predicted for the weekend

Dr. John Hooper is the new conductor of Island Voices. Photo supplied
Island Voices welcomes new conductor

This spring will be a time of transition for Island Voices chamber… Continue reading

From left—Rev. Ryan Slifka (minister, St. George’s); Ellen Wise (elder, St. George’s); Evangeline Mathura, (vice-president, Dawn to Dawn); Grant Shilling (outreach worker, Dawn to Dawn), with a cheque for $10,433.15.
Courtenay church donates more than $10,000 to transitional housing and support service

St. Goerge’s presents Dawn to Dawn with $10,433.15 cheque

A pine siskin is treated for salmonella poisoning at the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) hospital, in Merville. Photo by Gylaine Anderston.
Salmonella poisoning in birds and pets a result of unclean bird feeders

Have you ever endured a bout of food poisoning? If you remember… Continue reading

Inside the new shop operated by Wachiay Friendship Centre. Jared Kotyk (left), Jan Kotyk, Paloma Joy, Tim Gagnon, Jonah Hill, Jennifer Corbett and Tally, the shop dog. Photo supplied
Wachiay opens store-front arts shop in downtown Courtenay

There’s still tailor-work in the back of old AnnSew site, with the store in front

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

442 Transport and Rescue Squadron from CFB Comox was tasked to assist Arrowsmith Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) in extracting an injured hiker off of Mount Arrowsmith on Jan. 17. Photo by Capt.Reg Reimer
442 Transport and Rescue Squadron assists in Mount Arrowsmith rescue

“The turbulent conditions … made the hoisting quite challenging.”

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Most Read