Alenia Aermacchi, General Dynamics Canada, and DRS Technologies Canada Ltd. (TCL) have signed a comprehensive teaming agreement to compete for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) upcoming Fixed- Wing Search and Rescue Replacement Program. The team will offer a market variant of the C-27J Spartan, Alenia Aermacchi’s medium tactical military aircraft. The offering will leverage Alenia Aermacchi’s international success with the C-27J, General Dynamics’ system integration experience, and DRS’ training expertise.
Alenia Aermacchi will serve as the prime contractor and provide the green aircraft platform, including engineering support and avionics. The aircraft will be modified, missionized, and supported in Atlantic Canada by General Dynamics Canada. DRS TCL will provide long-term training support for the fleet.
General Dynamics Canada will act as the team’s mission system integrator. It will be responsible for modifying the aircraft to accept high tech sensors and the computers that manage them, increasing the search and rescue crew’s ability to detect rescue targets. In addition, it will serve as the In-Service Support (ISS) integrator for the C-27J. In close collaboration with Alenia Aermacchi, it will work with the RCAF to maintain the high level of fleet availability demanded by search and rescue operations.
The DRS training development team will design, oversee and manage the creation and maintenance of all courseware and training aids for the duration of the contract. The training will support the operational mandate of the FWSAR fleet by making maximum use of electronic learning and simulation to optimize availability of the FWSAR aircraft for operational employment.
“This teaming agreement reaffirms our commitment to the Canadian market and to providing the Royal Canadian Air Force with the most capable, best value solution for the fixed-wing search and rescue replacement program,” said Ben Stone, President and Chief Executive Officer of Alenia Aermacchi North America. “Alenia is exceptionally proud to be working with these two Canadian defence companies who collectively have over 100 years of experience supporting Canadians and Armed Forces around the world. Our team has the right experience, expertise, and platform to best support Canada’s search and rescue program.”
The agreement will support new long-term, high-tech jobs, across Canada as well as investments in infrastructure and technology, making it an outstanding economic stimulus for Canada’s aerospace sector. Additionally, Team Spartan is well-positioned to strengthen the Canadian economy as its two Canadian companies have a history of tapping into the skills and resources of Canadian suppliers, developing Canada’s industrial base, and supporting research and development at the country’s leading universities.
David Ibbetson, General Manager, General Dynamics Canada spoke about the incremental value Team Spartan will create through this relationship: “The FWSAR program sets a high standard for Industrial Regional Benefits (IRB) requirements.
Steve Zuber, Vice President and General Manager of DRS Technologies Canada commented, “Canada has some of the most rugged and sparsely populated terrain on the planet and Canadians deserve the very best fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft available in the world today. The made-in Canada training solution will provide high quality aerospace jobs for Canadians and, more importantly, will ensure Canada’s search and rescue crews will be ready for the demanding job of keeping Canadians safe.”
Team Spartan continues to reach out to local aerospace and defence companies to identify service and product providers as well as potential subcontractors to complement the Team Spartan solution and drive economic benefit to the Canadian industrial base.
The FWSAR aircraft replacement programme is intended to provide a new type to replace the RCAF’s aging CC-115 Buffalo and CC-130 legacy Hercules. The requirement began some ten years ago but took a big step forward last year, when two Industry Engagement sessions were held on April 11 and October 17, 2012, to gain industry feedback. A new Letter of Interest was issued on January 29, 2013, incorporating industry feedback and a draft Request for Proposals (RFP) is being prepared. It has not yet been announced exactly when the RFP will be issued, but it is thought likely that it will be sometime this summer.
Also in the running for the FWSAR contract is Airbus Military, which has teamed with Canada’s Discovery Air to offer the EADS C295, whilst Lockheed Martin is to offer the C-130J Super Hercules and another contender is the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey.