I had the opportunity last week to visit CFB Trenton where a version of Canada’s new SAR platform was on display for the media and members of the SAR community at large. CASARA was of course invited to see the new aircraft and members from National, Quebec and Ontario were represented.
The aircraft, an Airbus 295 was on loan from the Brazilian Air Force. It had many of the new features that the Canadian version will have but the most striking was its suite of advanced EO-IR (electro-optical infra-red) cameras. An MX-15 camera turret mounted on the front of the aircraft made by Burlington, Ontario’s WESCAM was front and centre. In the aircraft itself were two stations which takes all the data from the cameras and makes sense of it.
I have included a few photos below. As you can see this is pretty advanced technology. The aircraft itself is a very mission specific platfrom whereas our current legacy aircraft, the CC-130 Hercules is really a multi-mission platform that can be configured as the scenario requires. As such, it is a much smaller aircraft and is powered by two engines vs. the mighty Herc’s four engine powerplants. The first delivery is scheduled for sometime around 2020 and the fleet could be online by mid 2025.