Officials hope it won’t be this long for the next big order.
The CASA C295 Fixed Wing Search and Rescue aircraft order was won after a stiff competition. It will replace an aging fleet of SAR aircraft that are long overdue for retirement.
Up next: a replacement for Canada’s air force jet fighters and the fleet of Airbus A310 MRTT tanker-transports.
Simon Jacques, Head of Airbus Defence and Space Canada, told international media in briefings at the Montreal Mirabel A220 commercial airplane facility today that the request for proposals to replace aging Boeing F-18s is due mid-year.
Airbus will offer the Typhoon fighter. Although Boeing is the incumbent, the trade complaint filed in 2017 by Boeing over the C Series order by Delta Air Lines soured relations with Canada’s federal and Quebec provincial governments. At one point, the government said directly that the complaint would count against Boeing in the fighter competition.
Boeing ultimately lost the complaint. But one result was that Airbus acquired a 50.01% majority of the C Series partnership, saving jobs and boosting sales. It’s now believed Airbus will likely have an advantage in the competition. Eighty-eight aircraft are at stake.
It’s also planning to up the Canadian content and domestic purchases from the Canadian supply chain, Jacques said.
The air force’s aging CC-150 Polaris MRTT is based on the old A310. These aircraft were acquired after the collapse of Wardair and converted to MRTTs. One is used as the VIP transport for the Prime Minister.
Jacques said an RFP for this small fleet is also expected this year. Boeing’s KC-46A may be offered in competition.
Another military program due for replacement is the CP-140. This is Canada’s designation for the Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion.
Airbus may offer a military derivative of the A320neo. Boeing currently offers the established P-8 Poseidon.
Airbus has floated the idea of a military A320 for decades, without ever launching the program.
Airbus Canada also is in talks to develop the LeoVantage Constellation, 300 satellites around the globe for Canadian customer, to potentially build in Canada.