MONTREAL Nov 24 Canada's federal government is
expected to take a decision in early December on new fixed-wing
search-and-rescue aircraft, with Airbus Group SE's
C-295 and Leonardo Aircraft's C-27J Spartan emerging
as front-runners, two aerospace industry sources familiar with
the matter said.
The federal Treasury Board is expected on Dec. 8 to
authorize the government to enter into a contract with the
winning bidder for the purchase and in-service support of
aircraft, a third industry source said on Thursday.
All three sources spoke on condition of anonymity because
the deal is not public and the timing of the Treasury Board
decision could be changed.
The value and number of aircraft in the procurement have not
yet been made public, a spokesman for Canada's National Defence
Department said. The value of the deal, including the
acquisition and in-service support, has been estimated in media
reports at about C$3 billion ($2.22 billion).
Embraer's KC-390 is also part of the competition,
but the aircraft is not expected to win because the program is
still in development and Canada's government wants an aircraft
that is already certified, two of the sources said.
The Canadian government has said the SAR aircraft
procurement will allow the Royal Canadian Air Force to replace
its current fixed-wing fleet of six CC-115 Buffalo aircraft and
13 CC-130H Hercules aircraft that are being used in Canada
for search-and-rescue missions.
As the world's second-largest country by land mass, Canada's
search-and-rescue responsibility extends over more than 18
million square km (6.9 million square miles) of land and sea.
A spokeswoman for Canada's Treasury Board declined to
comment on Thursday because the proceedings are considered
A spokesman for Canada's procurement minister could not
immediately be reached for comment.
On Tuesday, Canada unveiled plans to buy 18 Boeing Co
Super Hornets as a stopgap measure while it prepared an open
five-year competition to replace its aging fleet of fighter
($1 = 1.3487 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Allison Lampert; Editing by Peter Cooney)