Defence Minister Sajjan Visits Future Site of Training Centre for New Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue Aircraft

News Release

January 25, 2018 – Comox, B.C. – Government of Canada

In Canada’s new defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, the Government of Canada committed to providing the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces with the support they need, including modern facilities in which to train. This is particularly important when it comes to the search and rescue aircraft fleet that helps respond to thousands of distress calls received every year in Canada.

Today, Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan toured the future site of the new training centre at 19 Wing in Comox, B.C. for the newly acquired fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft fleet. This training centre is expected to create 300 jobs in Canada over the three-year development phase and approximately 50 jobs in the Comox area for the remainder of the contract.

The training centre will include simulators and training devices for Royal Canadian Air Force aircrew, search and rescue technicians, and maintenance personnel who will operate the C-295W search and rescue aircraft. Given that the Canadian search and rescue environment is one of the most challenging and diverse in the world, ensuring that the RCAF has a modern fleet and trained aircrews to answer these calls is key to successful rescues.


“It is essential that our search and rescue crews have the right facilities in which to develop the skills they need to perform their duties safely and effectively. The construction of this training centre represents another step forward in a key project, supporting our mission of being strong at home, ready to assist in times of natural disaster, to support search and rescue, and to respond to domestic emergencies.”

- Harjit S. Sajjan, Defence Minister

“This project is yet another example of how our government is providing our men and women in uniform with the equipment and facilities they need to do their jobs. Much progress has been made on this project since the contract was awarded just one year ago. With the start of construction on the training centre in December, the project is on track, generating economic benefits and creating good jobs for the middle class.”

- Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement

“This event is not only about a building, but also about our people. Together we are building the right search and rescue training environment to fully empower our airmen and airwomen to deliver on their critical mission for Canadians – saving lives.”

- Lieutenant-General Mike Hood, Commander, Royal Canadian Air Force

Quick Facts

  • The new training centre will include ten classrooms as well as sophisticated training devices such as a full-flight simulator, a cockpit procedure trainer, a sensor station simulator, and an aircraft maintenance trainer. The centre will be used to train both maintenance and flight crews. Simulation training improves efficiency, environmental impact and operations by reducing the need to use operational aircraft for training purposes.

  • The initial contract was awarded to Airbus Defence and Space to procure new fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft fleet of 16 C-295W to replace Canada’s fleets of Buffalo and (legacy) Hercules aircraft in the search and rescue role on 1 December 2016. The contract is for a period of 11 years and is valued at $2.4 billion (plus applicable taxes). It includes six years of acquisition, transition and set-up, construction of a new training centre, and the first five years of maintenance services.

  • The contract also includes options to extend the maintenance and support services for an additional 15 years. Should Canada choose to exercise these additional options, the contract value would increase to $4.7 billion (plus applicable taxes). 

  • The first aircraft is scheduled to be delivered in late 2019.

  • The contract for the construction of the training centre was awarded to CAE by Airbus Defence and Space. The construction is expected to be completed in 2019, and is expected to facilitate training of RCAF aircrew, search and rescue technicians and maintenance personnel for at least the next 20 years.

  • The new training centre will conform to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver level, and integrate green building concepts and sustainability into the planning, and design of the building.

  • The Canadian Armed Forces has the primary responsibility of providing aeronautical search and rescue services and the Canadian Coast Guard is responsible for maritime search and rescue services. The Canadian Armed Forces is responsible for the effective operation of this coordinated aeronautical and maritime search and rescue services to the Canadian public. 

  • During the transition to the new search and rescue aircraft, the existing RCAF fleets will continue to be maintained and operated to ensure search and rescue responsibilities.

Associated Links


Byrne Furlong
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of National Defence
Phone: 613-996-3100

Media Relations
Department of National Defence
Phone: 613-996-2353

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