Canada’s Fixed Wing Search and Rescue Aircraft Replacement (FWSAR) project took an important step forward as the Aircraft Maintenance Trainer (AMT) departed Seville, Spain, to travel to Canada.
This specific aircraft—a training variant of the CC-295—is being flown by an Airbus Defence and Space flight crew as it makes its way to its new home in the soon-to-be search and rescue (SAR) training centre at 19 Wing, Comox, B.C.
The AMT will stop at all of the RCAF’s fixed-wing search and rescue bases across Canada on its way to Comox, including 14 Wing Greenwood, N.S.; 8 Wing Trenton, Ont.; and 17 Wing Winnipeg, Man. These brief visits are meant to provide RCAF personnel with an advanced look at this important training tool for the FWSAR fleet.
“As with any program, the FWSAR project is one of milestones, and the arrival of the AMT is an important one on the overall journey towards operational implementation of the CC-295 fleet,” said Ms. Isabelle Latulippe, FWSAR Project Manager.
The AMT is not designed nor equipped to conduct operational SAR missions, and as such, is not one of the 16 aircraft procured under the FWSAR project; rather, it is an important part of the training solution for the new fleet. It will be used to instruct technicians on the removal and installation of various aircraft parts and components, and other aspects of hands-on maintenance, before they conduct work on operational aircraft.
The first of the standard Canadian version of the aircraft, which will be fully equipped to perform SAR missions, will begin arriving in Canada later this year.
When the maintenance trainer arrives in Comox, it will be disassembled, then reassembled inside the new training centre, which is a keystone step in building the CC-295’s maintenance training program.
“Aircraft cannot fly without maintenance, and with that in mind, we are very excited that the AMT is on its way, so that we can continue building our maintenance community for the CC-295 fleet,” said Colonel Dany Poitras, 19 Wing Commander. “While this is not an operational aircraft, it is a critical component of the overall FWSAR project and its arrival represents real progress.”
In addition to the aircraft maintenance trainer, the new SAR training centre will use a variety of modern training devices such as full-motion flight simulators, sensor station simulators, and much more.