The first Airbus C295 for Canada has completed its maiden flight, marking a key milestone towards delivery by the end of 2019 to begin operational testing by the RCAF.
The purchase is part of the Canadian Fixed Wing Search and Rescue Aircraft Replacement (FWSAR) programme.
The aircraft, designated CC-295, took off from Seville, Spain, on the 4th of July at 20:20 local time (GMT+1) and landed back on site one hour and 27 minutes later, say Airbus.
The contract, awarded in December 2016, includes 16 C295 aircraft and all In-Service Support elements including, training and engineering services, the construction of a new Training Centre in Comox, British Columbia, and maintenance and support services.
The aircraft will be based where search and rescue squadrons are currently located: Comox, British Columbia; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Trenton, Ontario; and Greenwood, Nova Scotia.
According to a statement:
“Considerable progress has been made since the FWSAR program was announced two and a half years ago: the first aircraft will now begin flight testing; another five aircraft are in various stages of assembly; and seven simulator and training devices are in various testing stages.
As of January 2019, 86 percent of key Canadian In-Service Support (ISS) tasks have been performed in-country by Canadian companies in relation to establishing the FWSAR ISS system. Airbus is thus on track in providing high value work to Canadian industry and has demonstrated a successful start to the development and transfer of capability to Canadian enterprises for the support of the FWSAR aircraft.”
In addition, the first RCAF crews will begin training in late summer 2019 at Airbus’ International Training Centre in Seville, Spain.