A Search and Rescue CC-115 Buffalo aircraft from Canadian Forces Base Comox flies over the coastal area of British Columbia. The CC-115 Buffalo and CC-130 legacy Hercules are to be replaced by a new nation-wide fleet and while the make of the new aircraft has not yet been announced

Ottawa to announce $3 billion search and rescue plane contract

Sources say Airbus has won the deal, which could have big payoffs for B.C.

The federal government will announce a new search and rescue plane on Thursday as part of a $3 billion contract.

The new planes will replace the current fixed-wing fleet of six CC-115 Buffalo aircraft and 13 CC-130H Hercules aircraft that are being used for SAR missions.

According to sources, the Airbus C-295 turboprop military transport plane was selected over the Italian-based Team Spartan’s C-27J (Leonardo) and a KC-390 jet manufactured by Brazil’s Embraer.

If Airbus is the winner, communities on Vancouver Island could benefit from the deal.

In October, Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force Lt.-Gen. Michael Hood told Vancouver media that 19 Wing Comox would be the chosen base for the project.

That’s not all – Coulson Aviation, based out of Port Alberni, signed a memorandum of understanding to provide the tanking system for Airbus’ C295W’s back in late 2015.

In an interview earlier this year, Coulson told Black Press that if Airbus were to win the deal, they would have to spend a $3 billion offset somewhere in Canada. Currently, only one-third of that money is committed.