Feds consider $3-billion search plane buy

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CD
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Feds consider $3-billion search plane buy

Post by CD »

Feds consider $3-billion search plane buy

12 Dec, 5:14 PM

OTTAWA - The federal cabinet will be asked early in the new year to give its blessing to spend $3 billion to replace Canada's geriatric fleet of search-and-rescue planes, The Canadian Press has learned.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay said a proposal to replace the over 40-year-old CC-115 Buffalos is on his desk and ready to be presented.

"I hope to move very early in the new year toward procurement," he said in an interview Friday.

The pitch to cabinet comes at a time of economic crisis, with a collapsing auto sector, a recession and a looming federal deficit.

Regardless, MacKay said he believes he can make the case.

"It's a critical component of Canada's home guard (and) we need to have these aircraft," he said.

The twin-engine Buffalos, which were ordered replaced five years ago by the Paul Martin Liberal government, have become increasingly difficult to maintain because the manufacturer stopped production of the aircraft in 1986.

At one point, air staff planners were looking to buy retired Brazilian air force CC-115s to cannibalize them for parts.

This year, plans were set in place to keep the six Buffalos in the air until 2015, but the head of the air force said he's confident it won't take that long to get replacements.

"Earlier is always better with old airplanes," said Lt.-Gen. Angus Watt.

He insisted, however, that the Buffalos are safe and will continue with their duties, including operations along the West Coast where their slow speed makes them ideal for searching mountain ranges.

"People worry about aircraft life expectancy," said Watt. "They sort of have these dates; these lines in the sand and worry that the aircraft is going to fall off the edge of the Earth on that date. As long as I continue to put money into them, they can be flown safely and effectively."

The purchase of 15 new aircraft is expected to run around $1.5 billion with an additional $1.5 billion tacked on for a 20-year in-service support contract, defence officials said.

The price tag is $200 million higher than when the project was conceived under the former Liberal government in late 2003.

MacKay defended the five-year delay, saying the Defence Department wanted to get the procurement right. No one wants "a repeat of the saga" the air force has gone through over the last two decades to replace its antique CH-124 Sea King helicopters, he added.

Last year, MacKay's predecessor, Gordon O'Connor, and then-chief of defence staff Gen. Rick Hillier suggested the skyrocketing cost of the war in Afghanistan was also a factor in the delay.

The initial procurement, which was shelved in early 2007, was halted at the pre-definition phase among fierce competition between two European-based aerospace giants.

Italian aircraft-maker Aleina, with its C-27J Spartan, has quietly lobbied the federal government and appeared to hold a slight advantage over the Spanish EADS/CASA C-295.

Watt denied there was - or will be - any favouritism.

"We don't have a clear aircraft in mind; it would depend what manufacturers bring to us," said the chief of air staff.

Defence sources said there has been at least one previous attempt to get a fixed-wing search plane proposal through the Conservative cabinet, but it was stopped dead in its tracks by cost and technical concerns.

MacKay said the latest presentation has been given a thorough reworking - or "scrubbing."

Opposition critics have said the unacceptable delay in replacing the search-and-rescue plane has made a mockery the Conservative government's self-titled Canada First Defence Strategy.

The Tories came to office in 2006 promising to rebuild the Forces and laid out as much $20 billion for heavy-lift aircraft, helicopters and tanks.

The air force relies on both the Buffalo and an aging flight of C-130 Hercules cargo planes for fixed-wing search.
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Pretend-A-Jet
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Re: Feds consider $3-billion search plane buy

Post by Pretend-A-Jet »

$1.5 billion dollars to purchase 15 aircraft?

That's one-hundred-million dollars ($100,000,000) each!

For an airplane the equivalent of a Buffalo?

Does that include all kinds of fancy SAR technology or something?

Plus another hundred-million to service them for 20 years? That's $5-million per year. I hope that includes fuel and crews.

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but you can pick up a global express for about fifty-million US, which even with our exchange rate du jour is still a relative deal at sixty-some-million.

I found this article.

http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123057181

Apparently the US military picked up seventy-eight (78!!) of the C-27Js for $2-billion US. That's a much more reasonable twenty-five million a piece.

Are my numbers off or am I missing something?
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square
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Re: Feds consider $3-billion search plane buy

Post by square »

Wow, that Spartan is a beautiful airplane. Why do they need something so big for SAR though? I thought one guy goes out and finds people then a flingwing comes by to pick em up.
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brownbear
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Re: Feds consider $3-billion search plane buy

Post by brownbear »

stimulus? How about support the canadian manufacturing community...... Specialized -8s or get viking to run new buffs with pwc123 engines. The stimulus might sell these all over the world. Nothing should be bought that isn't build in our country in that scale of costs.
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Re: Feds consider $3-billion search plane buy

Post by xsbank »

(Singing) "Rubber Duckie, you're the one...."
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Re: Feds consider $3-billion search plane buy

Post by Pretend-A-Jet »

brownbear wrote:stimulus? How about support the canadian manufacturing community...... Specialized -8s or get viking to run new buffs with pwc123 engines. The stimulus might sell these all over the world. Nothing should be bought that isn't build in our country in that scale of costs.
Agreed.

You can pick up a new Dash-8 Q200 in the realm of US$15m that's CDN$19m or a grand total of $285 Million for 15 airplanes. About 5 times less than the $1.5b acquisition cost they're looking at.
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Four1oh
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Re: Feds consider $3-billion search plane buy

Post by Four1oh »

It's probably a reporter malfunction. After all you can't blame the poor journalists for making number and/or math mistakes. They took creative writing in university, not math... :roll:
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Re: Feds consider $3-billion search plane buy

Post by SAR_YQQ »

square wrote: I thought one guy goes out and finds people then a flingwing comes by to pick em up.
That would be incorrect.
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Re: Feds consider $3-billion search plane buy

Post by . ._ »

Looks like a nice plane.

Image
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Re: Feds consider $3-billion search plane buy

Post by Doc »

istp wrote:Looks like a nice plane.

Image
Screw the dimensions. How fast will it go. What's the fuel burn and range like? And, as previously stated, they could have several times as many Dash 8's for way less bucks. Wouldn't more airplanes cover a larger area faster? And, they're made in Canada. DH could employ some laid off auto workers?
SAR is a wee bit of a misnomer. This aircraft would be used to "search" the "rescue" would come later?
Same mentality used when Canada bought the F18s. They could have filled the sky with F20s for the same dollar?
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Re: Feds consider $3-billion search plane buy

Post by Old Dog Flying »

[Same mentality used when Canada bought the F18s. They could have filled the sky with F20s for the same dollar?[/quote]

The F-20 Tigershark was only a small step up from the "tinker-toy" F-5 so called third world Freedom Fighter. And that POS was bought because it was the least amount for the biggest buck for Canadair...and we know which area of this wonderful country that company was located in. The fact that not one other country wanted the F-20 should give you some idea how great it was...not even the USAF!
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Re: Feds consider $3-billion search plane buy

Post by SAR_YQQ »

Doc wrote: How fast will it go.
SOR says min 325KTS.
SAR is a wee bit of a misnomer. This aircraft would be used to "search" the "rescue" would come later?
FWSAR assets always arrive on scene hours if not days before the recovery aircraft (ie helicopter). We use our SAR platforms in all phases of SAR.

The search followed by the rescue.

The equipment on board these aircraft allow for rescuing persons in the water, foundering vessels hundreds of miles out to sea, and the ability to put equipment and personnel into a crash site.
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Re: Feds consider $3-billion search plane buy

Post by 2R »

What is smelly and comes out of the arse end of a Buffalo ? :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: Feds consider $3-billion search plane buy

Post by Doc »

Old Dog Flying wrote:[Same mentality used when Canada bought the F18s. They could have filled the sky with F20s for the same dollar?
The F-20 Tigershark was only a small step up from the "tinker-toy" F-5 so called third world Freedom Fighter. And that POS was bought because it was the least amount for the biggest buck for Canadair...and we know which area of this wonderful country that company was located in. The fact that not one other country wanted the F-20 should give you some idea how great it was...not even the USAF![/quote]

Other countries didn't buy the F20 because the Americans wouldn't let them. Check out the performance figures on it, and the reasons are obvious. It'd be too hard to kill. Regardless, Canada did not need to spend the kind of $$ we did on an aircraft designed for carrier ops. But, that's in the past.
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Re: Feds consider $3-billion search plane buy

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rigpiggy
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Re: Feds consider $3-billion search plane buy

Post by rigpiggy »

brownbear wrote:stimulus? How about support the canadian manufacturing community...... Specialized -8s or get viking to run new buffs with pwc123 engines. The stimulus might sell these all over the world. Nothing should be bought that isn't build in our country in that scale of costs.
+1 but it would need the PW150's, as it used 3300hp engines

After helping out on a SAR mission last year, I can say that the C@& is just too f'n fast for a proper visual search. great for the dash speed, pressurized which helps, but the stall is faster than the Buff that a search in the rocks in marginal VFR is asking for a CFIT.

During the 60's when they were selling the -5 they did a Landing/T/O into a baseball stadium. Try that with the C27, though they are looking at a AC130 light using the c27
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Re: Feds consider $3-billion search plane buy

Post by AuxBatOn »

To almost every SAR pilots (past and present) I've talked to, most of them would rather quit than fly a Dash 8 doing SAR in the mountains. Have you seen the vis up front in that thing !?
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Re: Feds consider $3-billion search plane buy

Post by AuxBatOn »

Doc wrote: And, as previously stated, they could have several times as many Dash 8's for way less bucks.
Except that the Dash 8 is NOT a SAR aircraft and was not designed to do it
Doc wrote: Wouldn't more airplanes cover a larger area faster?
Hercs are used all over Canada for SAR (Winnipeg, Trenton, Greenwood are Hercs SAR bases), the Twotters have SAR capabilities in Yellowknife and the Buffs are on the west coast. I think this is because the Buff does well in the Mountains. All these are augmented with helos in Comox, Cold Lake, Trenton, Greenwood and Gander. The way I see it, they want to replace the west coast airplanes (Buffs) therefore the need something that will perform well in the mountains.
Doc wrote: DH could employ some laid off auto workers?
Sure, but again, for military procurement, I don't think we should base our decision on wether or not the product was "Made In Canada". Not always a good idea (Griffon anyone?)
Doc wrote: Same mentality used when Canada bought the F18s. They could have filled the sky with F20s for the same dollar?
Would it have been a good thing? Probably not.
Doc wrote: Check out the performance figures on it, and the reasons are obvious.
I just looked at them on Janes, and seriously, I can't see anything that the F-20 has that the Hornet doesn't, other that the Hornet is a REAL 4th generation fighter. The F-20 can't turn at all, which is something you need to have in a Fighter aircraft.
Doc wrote: Regardless, Canada did not need to spend the kind of $$ we did on an aircraft designed for carrier ops. But, that's in the past.
What else in that time had 2 engines and was a good fighter in every aspect? (A-A, A-G) The fact that is was designed for carrier ops doesn't mean it can't operate from land.
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Re: Feds consider $3-billion search plane buy

Post by SAR_YQQ »

AuxBatOn wrote: The fact that is was designed for carrier ops doesn't mean it can't operate from land.
Ignoring the fact that its landing gear is not designed for any kind of cross-wind landing - I concur with everything else.

I would never take an airliner into the rocks, low and slow. I have searched for people who did exactly that - they were smoking holes on the side of mountains.

My biggest gripes with the C-295 have been mostly addressed by CASA - they now have more windows up front, an optional APU and longer legs. Who wins - we shall see. But if we throw a bone to a made-in-Canada solution just because of a small economic slow-down, I am going to be really disappointed.
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Re: Feds consider $3-billion search plane buy

Post by rigpiggy »

let's see buff made in yyj/yyc with yul sourced engines, sounds like both east and west win.
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