Airbus announced late last week that the RCAF’s new CC-295 Search and Rescue aircraft completed its first flight over Seville, Spain. The aircraft is the first of 16 ordered by the Canadian government as part of the Fixed Wing Search and Rescue Aircraft Replacement program. The Airbus product beat out the Leonardo C-27J Spartan of Italy and the Embraer KC-390 of Brazil.

The 16 CC-295s, powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127G engines, will be spread across the country at existing SAR bases: Comox, B.C.; Winnipeg, Man.; Trenton, Ont. and Greenwood, N.S. CFB Comox will be the site for a new training centre for the CC-295 crews and maintenance personnel. The state-of-the-art centre is being built by Montreal-based CAE, and will include training facilities for the RCAF’s CH-149 Cormorant SAR helicopters as well.

The July 4th flight lasted one hour and 27 minutes, and was the first of a series of test flights for the CC-115 Buffalo replacement. Flight testing will continue over the summer with the first CC-295 to be handed over the RCAF by the end of 2019. RCAF flight crews will travel to Airbus’s Seville training centre in late summer to begin training.