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Monday, June 15, 2015

Lockheed Martin C-130J to too large for RCAF FWSAR?

Bids for the replacement of the RCAF's 40 year old Buffalo fixed wing search and rescue (FWSAR) aircraft are due in September 2015, and Lockheed Martin has not yet decided whether or not to offer a bid on the project.

Alenia (offering their C-27J Spartan) and Airbus (offering their C295) are both keen to have their bids for the project. Both have been advertising their perspective aircraft for years to industry experts.

It is not because of the two competitors that Lockheed Martin might not bid, but the size of their C-130J Hercules aircraft.  Lockheed Martin is currently going over the 4,000 page request from the Canadian Government and the RCAF for operational requirements.

Many inside Lockheed Martin feel the size of the C-130J will disqualify it from the competition, and when millions of dollars go into investing in a competition, one wants their aircraft to have a legitimate change at winning the bid. Both the C-27J Spartan and C295 are considerably smaller aircraft, which would give them a higher level of manoeuvrability in the mountainous regions of Canada where the FWSAR would be expected to operate.

So, at the moment, Lockheed Martin, has not yet decided to enter a bid into the FWSAR project.