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Canada's tanker procurement


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Nov 17, 2017
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Airbus solely qualifies for Canada's tanker procurement

by Pat Host


Airbus, with its A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft, was deemed the only company qualified to bid for Canada’s Strategic Tanker Transport Capability (STTC) Project. (Airbus)

Only Airbus and its A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft qualified to bid for Canada’s Strategic Tanker Transport Capability (STTC) Project, Canada announced on 1 April.

Canada seeks to replace its Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Airbus A310 MRTT (CC-150 Polariis in national service) aircraft. Boeing is developing its KC-46A Pegasus aerial refuelling tanker for the US Air Force (USAF).

Boeing spokesperson Marcia Costley said on 1 April that the company responded to the invitation to qualify (ITQ) with the KC-46A. Costley declined further comment prior to publication.

A Department of National Defence (DND) spokesperson said on 1 April that the RCAF is looking for a new fleet of multirole aircraft that possess air-to-air refuelling (AAR) capability to accommodate both probe and drogue as well as boom refuelling of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) aircraft. This will include aircraft that will be selected by Canada’s Future Fighter Capability Project (FFCP).

The RCAF also wants multirole aircraft that can be reconfigured to support AAR, strategic airlift, aeromedical evacuation, and Canadian government strategic transport missions. The air force also wants a platform that has an upgraded secure communication system and a self-protection system.

The DND, in its ITQ, had very specific and detailed AAR and airlift capacity requirements for contractors to be eligible to bid for the STTC. The DND described these requirements as part of a three-legged operational example: AAR Flight, Airlift Flight 1, and Airlift Flight 2.