Canada’s Viking Air has decided not to participate in the ongoing contest to replace its home country’s aged fleet of fixed-wing search and rescue (FWSAR) aircraft.
Ottawa is seeking to acquire replacements for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s six de Havilland Canada CC-115 Buffalos and 13 Lockheed Martin CC-130H Hercules as part of a long-running procurement process.
Viking, which holds the type certificate for the DHC-5 Buffalo, had considered bringing the twin-turboprop type back into production for the contest.
However, it has now decided not to take part, believing that Ottawa’s specification would require it to offer another manufacturer’s aircraft alongside the DHC-5 because it “would not be the best platform for all aspects of the mission”, says Dominique Spragg, vice president of strategic planning at Vancouver Island-based Viking.
That also has a knock-on effect in that “the size of the buy would not be sufficient to [justify] bringing the Buffalo back into production”.
However, Viking is still eyeing future possibilities for the type. “We are still looking to do so, but we would be looking for a larger commitment to do that,” says Spragg. The company also says it is open to working with any of the other bidders for FWSAR. So far, Airbus Defence & Space and Alenia Aermacchi have said they will offer the C295 and C-27J, respectively.
Embraer is considering pitching the KC-390 and Lockheed Martin is likely to propose the HC-130J, but declines to comment.
Viking has “had conversations with the other bidders” including Airbus, Spragg adds.