Canadian Armed Forces join U.S. Counterparts in SAREX

29 11 2013

SGT. JOEL DUNVILLE of the Canadian Army Advanced Warfare Centre prepares his parachute and drop bag for a jump into the scene of a simulated plane crash.
Image credit: Photo by Capt. Trevor Reid/19 Wing Public Affairs

Approximately 100 Canadian Armed Forces members joined their American SAR counterparts in the Alaska Air National Guard (AKANG), United States Air Force (USAF) and United States Coast Guard (USCG) to take part in the Arctic Major Air Disaster (MAJAID) Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX) recently.

The six-day exercise served to test the collective response to a simulated airliner crash in the quickly-changing and hostile Arctic climate of North America.

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Airbus Military and Discovery Air Sign MoU on Canadian FWSAR Program

10 10 2012

News release from Airbus Military:

YELLOWKNIFE, NW, Oct. 10, 2012 /CNW/ – In the presence of the Honourable Mr. Bob McLeod, Premier of the Northwest Territories,  the CEO of Discovery Air, Mr.  Brian Semkowski, and the SVP Commercial of Airbus Military, Mr. Antonio Rodriguez-Barberan, announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly offer a solution for the Canadian Fixed Wing Search and Rescue (FWSAR) Program.  Under the terms of the MoU, Discovery Air, as the Airbus Military (AM) primary Canadian partner, will provide the in-service support for the program.

Brian Semkowski stated: “We are delighted to be able to offer this solution in conjunction with Airbus Military to the Canadian Forces. We are very excited about the C295 aircraft; a proven and reliable SAR platform that has been sold all over the world with over 110,000 flying hours to its credit. With proven, state of the art search capabilities, it offers a low-risk, low-cost solution, high in Canadian content.”  He added: “We believe that Discovery Air is ideally placed to provide the 20 year support package that will be required for this program.”

Antonio Barberan said: “We are extremely pleased with this agreement. Discovery Air is the perfect partner for Airbus Military and the ideal Canadian solution for the FWSAR program. The C295 is a proven platform as a world leader in terms of maritime patrol, search and rescue and related missions for twin engine military aircraft.

“The C295 FWSAR is a robust, reliable aircraft that does not have the risk associated with unproven technologies and Airbus Military, being part of Airbus, is backed by the solid fundamentals and reputation of Airbus. Furthermore, it has the lowest life-cycle costs in its class, and compared to competitors could save Canada up to $1 billion in fuel costs alone over the life of the airframe.”

The C295 aircraft is a proven and reliable SAR platform of which 114 examples have been sold in 17 countries. With proven, state of the art search capabilities, it offers a low-risk, low-cost solution, high in Canadian content.  In addition to Discovery Air, established partners include Pratt & Whitney Canada, CAE, L-3 Wescam and Vector Aerospace.  Airbus Military is the world market leader in military SAR, maritime patrol and related missions.

The aircraft’s search system has been fully integrated from the very beginning offering unparalleled levels of integration between the crew and the aircraft.  Canada’s Request for Proposals for the FWSAR has not been released; however, it is expected that the C295 will be compliant in all areas.

Brian Semkowski also stated: “We believe the RCAF can improve the level of service to Canadians by reducing response times in a region of Canada that is increasing in terms of activity and importance.  By basing aircraft in the North, and designating them as dedicated SAR assets, we believe Canada will be in an excellent position to respond to incidents in the North.”

A little about Discovery Air:

  • Discovery Air is a Tier One sponsor of the Discovery Air Hawk One Project – Celebrating 100 years of powered flight in Canada. To learn more, please visit

  • Headquartered in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Great Slave Helicopters and its group of companies is one of the largest helicopter operators in Canada.

  • Air Tindi operates a diversified fleet of fixed-wing aircraft and offers air ambulance, tourism, cargo transport, charter flying and scheduled service across Canada’s north.

  • Discovery Air Inc.’s Class A common voting shares and unsecured debentures trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (symbols DA.A and DA.DB.A, respectively).

  • Discovery Air Technical Services (DATS) is a Transport Canada Approved Maintenance Organization (AMO 23-10)  with a wide range of capabilities. We are authorized to perform maintenance and modifications on all U.S. registered aircraft as listed in the U.S./Canada bilateral agreement (Ref. CFR 43.17) and under EASA 145 (European Aviation Safety Agency).

Canada’s Search and Rescue Capabilities Showcased at SAREX 2012

9 10 2012

SAREX 2012 is a nation-wide annual exercise bringing together search and rescue units from across Canada in challenging settings to upgrade and maintain skills in parachute accuracy, medical, search, rescue, maintenance and team spirit.

SAREX also allows for the standardization of SAR techniques between the various units in a live exercise setting.

Working within the national SAR program, the Canadian Forces works with partners to provide the quickest and best response to SAR incidents using all available assets.

SAR is a shared responsibility among federal, provincial/territorial and volunteer organizations. Due to its vast size and range of environments, Canada relies on a diverse group of government, military, volunteer, academic and industry partners to provide overall SAR services to the Canadian public.

Read more about search and rescue responsibilities in Canada here.

To view photos of National SAREX 2012, visit the Canadian Forces Combat Camera website.

Arctic Rescue Earns 103 SAR Squadron the 2012 Cormorant Trophy

5 10 2012

A treacherous night-time, icy Arctic sea rescue of two hunters by a Canadian Forces Search and Rescue team has been selected as the winner of the 2012 Cormorant Trophy for Helicopter Rescue.

This year’s awarding of the Cormorant Trophy for the rescue carried out on 27 October 2011 serves as a solemn reminder of danger and selfless dedication of SAR crews every day in Canada with the death of Canadian Forces SAR Tech (search and rescue technician) Sergeant Janick Gilbert who had earlier jumped into the water from an accompanying CC-130 Hercules, to assist the hunters, said AgustaWestland, who presented the award.

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Bell Offers V-22 Osprey Tiltrotor For Canadian Forces SAR?

3 10 2011

Bell Helicopter is exploring new markets and missions for its Bell-Boeing Osprey V-22 military tiltrotor.

The company recently demonstrated the V-22’s search-and-rescue (SAR) capabilities to the Canadian Forces. The V-22 is ideally suited to the SAR mission in Canada, with its vast distances and harsh environments, and could do the work of several aircraft on a typical mission, according to a Bell spokesman.

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Check out the Canadian Defence Review article on the Bell V-22 for the Canadian Forces.

Canadian CH-146 Griffons Unsafe for SAR Duties?

23 02 2011

A Canadian Forces CH-146 Griffon - Wikipedia

A Defence Department study says it’s risky for the air force to continue using Griffon helicopters for search and rescue in Central Canada.

The review by the chief of air force development cites limitations of the CH-146, pressed into service in 2005 at Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ont., because the military’s principal search helicopter is often not available.

The air force intends to keep using the Griffon at the base until at least 2014, say briefing notes for Defence Minister Peter MacKay.

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Yellowknife 440 “Vampire” Squadron Twin Otters Celebrate Milestone

15 02 2011

A CC-138 Twin Otter aircraft from 440 (T) Sqn sits on the sea ice near Eureka, Nunavut during Op NUNALIVUT 08. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Source: Canadian Army News

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories — Nine CC-138 Twin Otters have served with the Canadian Forces (CF) since 1971. In 1994, 440 Transport and Rescue Squadron was renamed 440 Transport Squadron (440 (T) Sqn), its fleet was reduced to four aircraft and the squadron relocated to Yellowknife, where it remains today.

“[The Twin Otter] has supported a wide number of roles while supporting Canada, the Canadian Forces and Canadians,” explains Lieutenant-Colonel Dwayne Lovegrove, Commanding Officer, 440 (T) Sqn, “so it’s worthy of a little bit of celebration.”

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