Being promoted on both the DRS Technologies Canada stand (Booth 1511 and that of General Dynamics Mission Systems Canada (Booth 1601), the Leonardo Aircraft Division (formerly Alenia) C-27J is one of three candidates for the RCAF’s Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue (FWSAR) requirement.
FWSAR is in the evaluation stage and a selection is expected later this year. The C-27J has been one of the front-runners in the FWSAR competition to replace Buffalos and Hercules in the rescue role since the programme’s inception 14 years ago. Whereas earlier iterations of the project specified a number of aircraft (15) to be procured, the current request for proposals has left the decision of how many aircraft are required to meet the requirements up to the bidders.
As well as the three principals, Team Spartan has drawn in a wide array of Canadian aerospace companies to support the FWSAR bid and to maximise Canadian content. Partners include IMP Aerospace & Defence, KF Aerospace, Esterline CMC Electronics, Rolls-Royce Canada, Standard Aero, Bluedrop Training and Simulation, L-3 Wescam, TRU Simulation + Training, ATCO Structures and Logistics, and CAE.
The bid not only brings with it substantial employment for Canadian industry, but also spreads that employment geographically around the nation.
Team Spartan highlights the high transit speed of the C-27J as a key point, allowing the aircraft to be based in the south of the country yet still able to respond to calls from the far north in a timely manner. Its agility is also seen as an important attribute for operations in mountainous regions.
A large cabin provides the C-27J with ample room for SAR equipment and medical evacuation kits, while also allowing the aircraft to operate as a regular airliner to augment the RCAF’s Hercules fleet. The commonality of several systems with the CC130J Hercules is also being emphasised.
Leonardo/Alenia has achieved healthy sales for the C-27J in its standard transport form, and the type is in use with the US Special Operations Command, Royal Australian Air Force and Italian air force. More applicable to the Canadian requirement, the C-27J is being inducted into the US Coast Guard for medium-range surveillance and rescue work. The first of 14 former US Air Force aircraft was revealed in USCG colours on 30 March, having undergone a regeneration process.
The first aircraft is undergoing modi cation work to install sensors and equipment, a process that is expected to be complete next year.