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Canada orders 4 new Airbus A330 MRTTs

Canada has awarded a contract to Airbus Defence and Space S.A. to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s CC-150 Polaris fleet.

The contract with Airbus, valued at approximately $3.6 billion (excluding taxes), is for a fleet of nine aircraft. It includes the acquisition of four new Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft along with the conversion of five used A330-200 aircraft. These used aircraft were procured through separate procurement processes with significant cost savings and provide best value for Canadians.

The existing CC-150 Polaris fleet has been operating for over thirty years and is nearing the end of its service life. The new fleet is anticipated to operate into the 2050s.

As a multi-role aircraft, the CC-330 will provide the RCAF with increased flexibility to fulfill a variety of missions with the same aircraft. The primary role of the fleet will be air-to-air refuelling, while simultaneously being equipped to airlift large numbers of Canadian Armed Forces personnel and their equipment in support of operations and training activities within Canada, and around the world. With some reconfiguration, this multi-role aircraft can be equipped to perform specialized aeromedical evacuation missions. Additionally, the CC-330 aircraft will increase the RCAF’s ability to respond to unexpected operational requirements such as domestic or international emergencies or humanitarian relief missions. One of the used aircraft will be configured to provide secure transport of high-ranking government officials.

Once delivered, these aircraft will be designated as the CC-330 Husky and will improve the Royal Canadian Air Force’s flexibility, responsiveness, interoperability with allies and partners, communications security and self-protection. They will also allow Canada to meet future challenges and ongoing commitments to collective defence with our allies through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and to the defence of North America through North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) operations.

The additional air-to-air refuelling initiative is an integral part of Canada’s investments in NORAD modernization that will allow the RCAF to enhance Canadian sovereignty operations, including in the Arctic.

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

The acquisition of this capability represents a significant opportunity for Canada’s aerospace and defence industry. Through the Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy, Airbus will expand their presence in Canada, contribute to the growth of Canadian supply chains and create highly skilled jobs.

“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.” The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence

“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.” The Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister of Public Services and Procurement.

“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.” The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry



• The Royal Canadian Air Force’s current Polaris fleet, which is based in Trenton, Ontario, consists of five CC-150 Polaris. The current fleet is aging and cannot effectively perform all of its operational requirements, which has resulted in decreased mission flexibility.

• The inclusion of the additional air-to-air refuelling (AAR) initiative announced as part of Canada’s investments in NORAD modernization mandates the STTC fleet to deliver a capability that supports a NORAD readiness posture. With the increased scope of the additional AAR initiative, the fleet size will grow by three aircraft (from the originally anticipated six CC-330) to meet this mandate and to effectively support any of the RCAF strategic missions concurrently.

• The CC-330 Husky aircraft will provide an in-flight or air-to-air refuelling capability that will be able to refuel not only current and future RCAF aircraft, but also existing fighter aircraft used by NATO partners and the US as part of NORAD.

• In addition, the contract covers a full suite of training services, including the most advanced training devices such as a full flight simulator, to prepare and maintain crew readiness as part of the modernization of the Canadian Armed Forces’ air operational training infrastructure.

• The name Husky has been chosen for the CC-330 due to its long history with the RCAF’s 437 (Transport) Squadron, which will operate the new multi-role aircraft. The hardy Husky dog is known for its great endurance and ability to withstand cold weather, its unwavering dependability and overall toughness. Since 1944, the Husky has served as the mascot for the squadron, and the Husky emblem proudly adorns the Squadron Crest, symbolizing the spirit and values embodied by this remarkable breed. Additionally, during local training flights, 437 Squadron aircraft currently use the callsign “Husky.”

• In July 2022, two used A330-200 aircraft were procured for $102 million USD (excluding taxes), while the remaining three were purchased in July 2023 for $150 million USD (excluding taxes). These aircraft were procured through competitive contracts awarded to International AirFinance Corporation. Additionally, four new aircraft are being procured from the original aircraft manufacturer Airbus Defence and Space S.A.

• The STTC project has the potential to contribute over $145 million annually to Canada’s gross domestic product and close to 1050 jobs annually for Canadian industry and value chain partners over a thirteen-year period (direct and indirect).

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