Canada appears to be making progress with one of its long-running procurement programmes, with the issue on 20 December 2013 of a letter of interest covering its fixed-wing search and rescue (FWSAR) requirement.
Following a number of industry engagement days dating back to 2011, Ottawa now plans to release a request for proposals (RFP) early this year.
The letter of interest is intended to establish a "source list" for the programme of suppliers who "must have an aircraft product or must be able to propose a solution that could meet the conditions of the draft RFP". This latter document was released on 30 August 2013.
Prospective suppliers must submit a "statement of capabilities" by 24 January, although the letter makes clear that the "FWSAR secretariat" will have the final ruling over the validity of a company's claims.
Identified as a need since late 2010, the FWSAR programme is intended to replace the aged de Havilland Canada CC-115 Buffalos and older Lockheed Martin CC-130 Hercules operated by the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Flightglobal's Ascend Online Fleets database lists the service as having an active fleet of six SAR-roled CC-115s and 11 E/H-model CC-130s, although not all of the Hercules are used for SAR missions.
Likely bidders were given tours of the four main operating bases for the SAR fleet in October and November 2013.
Public Works and Government Services Canada – the department managing the procurement – identified Airbus Defence & Space, Alenia Aermacchi, Bell Boeing, Embraer, Lockheed Martin and Viking Air as airframers interested in the bid.