The Canadian government has finalized the first contract in its plan to acquire a new fleet of multipurpose aerial refueling aircraft, the government announced on July 14.
The Strategic Tanker Transport Capability (STTC) initiative aims to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) fleet of Airbus CC-150 Polaris, which are based on the A310-300 airframe.
The initial $102 million contract with Dubai lessor International Airfinance covers the purchase and preparation of two second-hand A330-200s, which will be the first two aircraft in the STTC fleet.
“The Government of Canada is committed to providing the Canadian Armed Forces with the equipment they need at the best value,” said Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand. “We look forward to accepting these two aircraft as they represent an important first step in eventually replacing the capability currently provided by the CC-150 Polaris fleet. »
The CC-150 has been in service with the RCAF since 1992. The service has five of the tanker aircraft, which are used in conjunction with a fleet of converted Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules transports to support aerial refueling operations.
The government said it currently plans to acquire a total strategic tanker capacity fleet of six aircraft, including the first two A330-200s.
Airbus will carry out military modifications to these planes, according to the government, after which they will serve as general-purpose aircraft within the STTC fleet for use in aerial refueling missions, strategic airlift, aeromedical evacuations and VIP transport. . .
Canada’s Department of Defense says the STTC program will support the three pillars of the government’s defense strategy: defending Canadians; respecting Canada’s commitments to North American aerospace defense and NATO; and enable the Canadian Armed Forces to participate in global operations, including international humanitarian relief and national emergencies.
The Department of National Defense expects the total cost of the STTC program to be between $1 billion and $5 billion.