Canada has released a draft request for proposals (RFP) for its fixed wing search and rescue (FWSAR) programme. A final version of the RFP will be issued in early 2014.
"We are committed to ensuring that this procurement proceeds in an open, fair and transparent way, giving best value to Canadian taxpayers and providing the Royal Canadian Air Force with the capability that it needs," says Diane Finley, Canada's minister of public works and government services. "We will continue to engage industry and rely on the advice of independent third-party advisors throughout this process."
The FWSAR programme is intended to replace Canada's ageing fleet of de Havilland CC-115 (DHC-5) Buffalo and legacy-model Lockheed Martin CC-130 Hercules aircraft in the search and rescue role. A key requirement for the future aircraft will be to conduct SAR missions over the vast reaches of northern Canada, which covers a land area greater than twice the size of the US state of Alaska, but has less than one-seventh of the population.
A number of potential contractors have expressed an interest in bidding for the programme. These include Lockheed, which is pitching its current C-130J. Bell Boeing is planning to offer a variant of the V-22 Osprey, while Airbus Military is promoting the C295. Alenia Aermacchi will offer the C-27J, while Viking Air is likely to offer a new-build variant of the CC-115.