TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Program Update
- Flying the C-27J: Q & A with Alenia Aermacchi's Steve Lucas
- Team Spartan Adds Additional Canadian members
- Partner Spotlight: CMC Electronics
- Company News
In the November issue of the C-27J FWSAR newsletter you will find a program update relating to the RCAF’s FWSAR draft RFP, a short insight piece from Steve Lucas — Team Spartan’s newest Canadian team member and former Canadian Forces Chief of Air Staff, a recap of the team’s activities at recent tradeshows, and a spotlight piece on one of Team Spartan’s newest partners, CMC Electronics.
On August 30, as part of the Industry Engagement Strategy for the Fixed Wing Search and Rescue (FWSAR) Aircraft Replacement Project, the Government of Canada released a draft Request for Proposal (RFP) to industry. As part of its commitment to continued collaboration with Canada, Team Spartan's tier one partners (Alenia Aermacchi, GDC and DRS), worked together to develop feedback on the draft proposal.
As part of this process, the team also had the opportunity to participate in dedicated one-on-one sessions with the FWSAR PMO to ask for clarification on the draft RFP documentation process. The team submitted its final comments to the draft RFP on October 18 and is looking forward to the next stages of the competition.
Steve Lucas is the newest addition to Alenia Aermacchi’s Team Spartan. Over his 38-year career with Canada’s Armed Forces, Lucas has gained extensive search and rescue (SAR) experience. He spent four years as a CC130 Hercules crew member on a Fixed Wing SAR Squadron, served as the commanding officer of 435 Squadron (FWSAR Squadron), was commander of 1 Canadian Air Division in Winnipeg (double-hatted as the Region Commander for the Trenton Search and Rescue Region), and was commander of Canada’s Air Force from 2005 - 2007.
Lucas has a unique perspective on FWSAR aircraft. He has logged more than 4,000 hours flight time in CC130 Hercules aircraft as a navigator and has also flown aboard both the CC115 Buffalo and C-27J Spartan. During a recent Q&A session in Ottawa, Lucas provided insight into his experience flying in the Spartan, noting how it is particularly well-suited for the FWSAR role and how it compares to the CC130 Hercules and CC115 Buffalo.
Q: Why is the C-27J ideal for Canada’s FWSAR requirements?
SL: Canada currently utilizes two different types of aircraft for search and rescue operations. The CC115 Buffalo is being used for SAR in Canada's mountainous regions and the CC130 Hercules for longer range missions in Central and Northern Canada and along coastal regions. The C-27J Spartan is ideal for FWSAR as it’s extremely versatile. It covers the complete performance spectrum — from its speed that allows it to cover vast territory to its manoeuvrability that allows it to fly in mountainous regions at low speeds. It can be used for any FWSAR scenario in Canada and would allow the Air Force to use a single aircraft for all its FWSAR requirements. Overall the C-27J is a great match for what Canada needs for FWSAR.
Q: What are the specific characteristics that give the C-27J an advantage over other FWSAR aircraft?
SL: The Spartan has a distinctive advantage in that its capabilities meet the requirements of a full range of mission scenarios. Specifically it has excellent speed and range, exceptional short take-off and landing distance, outstanding maneuverability, superior cockpit visibility, and cargo space that will adapt well to the new FWSAR mission.
Q: How does the C-27J stack up against the CC130 Hercules?
SL: The Spartan has excellent speed characteristics, compared to the older Hercules aircraft. Additionally, the Hercules is an extremely large aircraft, one that is larger than necessary for the FWSAR mission. Although the newest Hercules model has good speed and represents a faster solution, it comes with a greater operational cost, and therefore does not represent the best value solution. By comparison, the Spartan is less costly to fly and the aircraft’s speed still allows it to reach incident locations well within expected response times.
Q: Does the Spartan’s size and fuel capacity limit its range in any way?
SL: Not at all. The C-27J is a two engine aircraft with the fuel capacity to reach any point in Canada’s vast SAR area of responsibility. Canada has the world’s second largest land mass, and the country is responsible for large areas of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It has one of the most demanding SAR terrains of any country in the world and the C-27J has the ability to take off from Canada’s existing major operating bases and easily reach any point in the SAR area of responsibility.
Q: How do the Spartan’s take-off and landing capabilities give it an advantage over other FWSAR aircraft?
SL: The C-27J doesn’t need a lot of space to land and take-off. Canada is serviced by countless short runways and the Spartan can take advantage of most runways in the country — significantly more than the CC130J and other FWSAR aircraft currently deployed in Canada. The short take-off and landing requirements are especially important in Canada’s North which is primarily serviced by short, narrow runways.
Q: You mentioned that manoeuvrability is a key characteristic of the Spartan. How does this compare to the CC115 Buffalo?
SL: The Buffalo is an outstanding aircraft for its specific use in Canada — SAR in mountain regions. However, it has a few disadvantages: speed, range and age. The Buffalo is not especially fast, increasing the time it takes to respond to emergencies, it doesn’t have the greatest range, making it difficult to reach all of the SAR area of responsibility within Canada, and is very close to the end of its useful life meaning support costs and availability are going to be factors.
The Spartan by comparison has superior speed and range to the Buffalo and has similar low speed handling qualities that allow it to operate close to the stall speed with very little pilot workload. You can’t appreciate the handling capabilities until you’ve flown the C-27J in the low and slow environment of a mountain SAR scenario. The aircraft has superb turning performance at low speed and the power to get you out of any tight situation you may get yourself into.
Q: How does the manoeuvrability of the Spartan compare to the CC130 Hercules?
SL: I have logged thousands of hours in Hercules aircraft and the plane has many strengths but manoeuvrability at slow speeds is a weak point — particularly when flying SAR missions in mountainous regions. Probably the most uncomfortable I’ve ever felt in an aircraft was in a CC130 during a low slow mountain search. A lot of my flight experience was with low altitude tactical flying. I am quite comfortable flying at low altitudes at faster speeds, but low, slow and in tight quarters in the Hercules was distinctly uncomfortable. This is not an issue with the Spartan.
Q: Visibility is a key characteristic of SAR flying. Can you provide any perspective on how the visibility of the Spartan compares to other aircraft?
SL: Modern flying is largely done by instruments these days. The C-27J is different; it was designed as a tactical aircraft. The large windows, located in the bottom and top of the cockpit, give it exceptional cockpit visibility – probably the best I’ve seen in any aircraft. Visibility is a quality you need in SAR. A lot of SAR flying is visual flying, particularly as you begin to localize a crash site. The cockpit visibility combined with the Spartan’s manoeuvrability allows pilots to stay in tight in the search area which makes for an outstanding FWSAR platform.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like people to know about the C-27J?
SL: The C-27J Spartan has performed exceedingly well in harsh environments around the globe. Based on my experience both as a SAR crew member and in senior leadership roles with the Canadian military, I’m confident this is the right aircraft for Canada. It’s a single solution for all FWSAR requirements, is ready to go and can fly SAR missions as soon as the procurement process is complete. I’m looking forward to being able to show Canada the full potential of this aircraft.
Steve Lucas is a senior strategic advisor for Alenia Aermacchi.
Team Spartan recently added two new Canadian team members, Esterline CMC Electronics and FLYHT Aerospace Ltd., to its Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue C-27J Team. The addition of these companies reinforces Team Spartan’s commitment to building a strong Canadian industrial network, with particular emphasis on well-balanced, regional distribution of benefits and involvement of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Esterline CMC Electronics, with headquarters based in Montreal, will provide several key pieces of flight equipment including a TacView® Portable Mission Display and a SureSight® Enhanced Vision System sensor. CMC is also in the short list of companies to provide a new C-27J Flight Management System (FMS).
FLYHT Aerospace Solutions, headquartered in Calgary, will provide a state-of-the-art Automated Flight Information Reporting System (AFIRSTM) capable of performing aircraft data transmission, voice and text messaging, and on-demand streaming of black box data through the Iridium network.
Both Esterline CMC Electronics and FLYHT Aerospace Solutions have strong Canadian operations and significant experience in both Canadian and international markets. CMC Electronics has more than 100 years of experience providing high-technology electronics products, has locations in Ottawa and Montreal, and more than 1,000 employees across Canada. FLYHT serves more than 35 aircraft operators globally and employs more than 50 employees in Calgary.
Ben Stone, president and chief executive officer at Alenia Aermacchi North America said of the new team members, “We are excited to welcome these two companies onboard Team Spartan. CMC brings strong capabilities in avionics and systems integration, while FLYHT Aerospace Solutions adds extensive expertise in data communications. These two competencies are critically important for successful search and rescue missions, and having this equipment on our aircraft enhances our best value FWSAR solution. Further, these additions to Team Spartan demonstrate our commitment to enlarging our Canadian presence and to advancing and supporting the Canadian industrial base.”
Q: Why did CMC decide to participate on Team Spartan?
A: CMC is impressed with Team Spartan’s commitment to building a strong Canadian industrial network and to choosing experienced Canadian partners with an international reputation for innovation and excellence.
Q: What role will your company play on Team Spartan?
A: As Canada’s premier avionics company, CMC will contribute to the FWSAR C-27J program with its world-class product portfolio that includes portable mission displays, enhanced vision products, GPS and cockpit integration capability.
Q: What are Esterline CMC Electronics’ key businesses?
A: CMC focuses on delivering innovative cockpit systems integration and avionics solutions to l customers around the world.
Q: What are CMC’s major markets?
A: CMC’s business is balanced between the military and civil aviation markets for both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters. Areas of interest include Military Transport, Military Trainers and Fighters, Maritime Surveillance, Search and Rescue, Commercial Air Transport, Business and Regional Jets, Law Enforcement, Oil and Gas, and Emergency Medical Services.
Q: Why is the FWSAR program so important to Canadians?
A: For CMC Electronics, this is an opportunity to leverage its Canadian aviation know-how to advance search and rescue operations in the most challenging environment in the world in terms of sheer landmass and extreme environments.
Team Spartan Meets with Suppliers at AIAC Summit
Team Spartan attended the Aeropsace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) 2013 Canadian Aerospace Summit in Ottawa on October 16–17. The summit focused on the future of Canadian aerospace and provided a networking opportunity for Canadian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to connect with larger industry players and exchange information and ideas. Notable speakers included The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport. During her speech, Finley focused on the importance of intellectual property rights, and the need for global companies operating in Canada to share knowledge and intellectual property with SMEs. There were also a number of panels that covered topics ranging from innovation to supplier challenges to cybersecurity.
During the conference, the team met over 20 interested Canadian providers including Apex Industries, Avcorp, Latecore, Noranco, Marinvent, Mechatronix, and Thales. Team Spartan was also one of the main sponsors of the conference.
Team Spartan Exhibits at DEFSEC
From September 4–6, Team Spartan (Alenia Aermacchi, General Dynamics Mission Systems – Canada and DRS Canada) participated at the DEFSEC Atlantic Trade Show and Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. DEFSEC is Canada’s second largest defence event.
In its inaugural debut, Team Spartan exhibited with a new flagship booth.
The Spartan Team booth garnered significant attention for the display of the C-27J SAR model (1:20 scale). A series of attractive in-situation photography depicted SAR operations with Canadian terrain.
The team had significant engagements with key players in the Canadian aerospace industry with the purpose of growing the future industrial collaborations within the FWSAR Program.
During the event the team had the chance to meet representatives of Industry Canada and the Royal Canadian Air Force to exchange the first impressions after the release of the draft RFP.
Interested in being a supplier for Team Spartan? Register here