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Contract for the Strategic Tanker Transport Capability Project Granted – New Fleet of Nine Aircraft on the Way

The Government of Canada orders 4 new Airbus A330 MRTTs

Canada’s commitment to its defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, remains steadfast as the Government of Canada endeavors to equip the Canadian Armed Forces with advanced gear to effectively carry out diverse operations, all while ensuring the best value for the nation’s citizens.

Most recently, on behalf of the Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, the Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence, declared that Airbus Defence and Space S.A. has been granted a contract by the Government of Canada to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s aging CC-150 Polaris fleet.

“As autocratic regimes threaten the rules-based international order, there is a pressing need to modernize the capabilities of the Royal Canadian Air Force in support of North Atlantic Treaty Organization and North American Aerospace Defense Command operations. The Strategic Tanker Transport Capability brought forward today with the contract award for renewed air-to-air refuelling, strategic transport and aeromedical evacuation capabilities, will deliver modern equipment for our Canadian Armed Forces, who put their lives on the line every single day to defend our shared continent with the US, and support our allies in time of need,” remarked the Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence.

Following an open, equitable, and transparent procurement process, it was concluded that Airbus Defence and Space S.A. stood as the sole qualified supplier that met the project requirements.

“I am pleased that today’s contract award announcement to Airbus Defence and Space S.A. will enable our government to continue to provide the Royal Canadian Air Force and its members with the advanced equipment they need to do their job, at the best value for Canadians,” added the Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister of Public Services and Procurement.

The contract, valued at around $3.6 billion (excluding taxes), pertains to the acquisition of a fleet of nine aircraft from Airbus. Among these, four will be newly constructed Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft, and the remaining five will be refurbished A330-200 aircraft. The latter were acquired through separate procurement procedures, resulting in substantial cost savings, ultimately ensuring the best value for Canadian taxpayers.

The existing CC-150 Polaris fleet, which has been operational for over three decades, is reaching the end of its service life. The new fleet, the CC-330 Husky, is projected to operate well into the 2050s.

As a versatile multi-role aircraft, the CC-330 will empower the RCAF with enhanced flexibility to undertake various missions using the same platform. Primarily designed for air-to-air refueling, the fleet will also have the capability to airlift a considerable number of Canadian Armed Forces personnel and equipment, supporting operations and training both within Canada and worldwide. With appropriate adaptations, the aircraft can also be utilized for specialized aeromedical evacuation missions. Additionally, the CC-330 aircraft will significantly bolster the RCAF’s capacity to respond to unforeseen operational demands, such as domestic or international emergencies and humanitarian relief missions. One of the used aircraft will be configured for secure transport of high-ranking government officials.

“As the world’s most advanced multirole tanker aircraft, the A330 MRTT perfectly matches Canada’s needs to protect its sovereignty as well as to enhance operations both in the North American Aerospace Defence Command as well as in NATO,” said Mike Schoellhorn, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Defence and Space. “Canada achieves this enhancement of operations not only by improving interoperability with other allied A330 MRTT customer nations but also due to the aircraft’s technological primacy ahead of the global competition.”

Upon delivery, these aircraft will be officially designated as the CC-330 Husky, elevating the Royal Canadian Air Force’s adaptability, responsiveness, and cooperation with allies and partners. They will also enable Canada to meet future challenges and fulfill ongoing commitments to collective defense alongside allies through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and in the defense of North America via North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) operations.

The addition of air-to-air refueling capabilities is a vital aspect of Canada’s investments in NORAD modernization, enhancing the RCAF’s capacity to conduct sovereign operations, particularly in the Arctic region.

These aircraft will be able to refuel not only the existing and future Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) fighter aircraft, including the F-35, but also fighter aircraft employed by the US as part of NORAD and those of NATO partners.

Acquiring this capability presents a remarkable opportunity for Canada’s aerospace and defense industry. As per the Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy, Airbus will expand its presence in Canada, contribute to the growth of Canadian supply chains, and generate highly skilled job opportunities. Having been a prominent player in Canada’s aerospace sector for nearly four decades, Airbus has established a strong presence in the country. The company employs over 4,000 people locally and sources approximately CAD $2 billion from Canadian companies, further contributing to the growth and prosperity of the Canadian aerospace industry.

“This announcement builds on decades of partnerships between Airbus and Canada. Our government will be leveraging meaningful and long-term economic benefits to Canada through the Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy to foster innovation in our aerospace industry and lead to the creation of high-value jobs across Canada,” explained the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

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