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Airbus Military and Canadian partner Discovery Air join forces on bid for Canadian Search and Rescue (SAR) contract

Yellowknife, October 10, 2012 -  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.”


Airbus Military is the only military and civic/humanitarian transport aircraft manufacturer to develop, produce, sell and support a comprehensive family of airlifters ranging from three to 45 tonnes of payload. An Airbus daughter company, Airbus Military is responsible for the A400M programme, as well as the Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) A330 and for further military derivatives based on Airbus civil aircraft. Together with the C295, CN235 and C212, Airbus Military is the global leader in the market for military transport, tanker and surveillance aircraft able to perform the most varied missions. Altogether, Airbus Military has sold more than 1,000 aircraft to some 130 military, civilian and governmental customers. More than 800 of these aircraft have been delivered. Airbus is an EADS company.


Discovery Air Inc. is a Canadian specialty aviation company, operating over 160 aircraft with approximately 850 team members. Its subsidiaries provide airborne training to the Canadian military; air ambulance services; airborne fire services; helicopter operations; fixed-wing air charter services; expediting and logistics support; and a range of maintenance, repair, overhaul, modification, engineering and certification services.

For further information, please contact:

Airbus Military point of contact:

Jaime Pérez-Guerra  
+34 91 585 77 89  
Mobile:+34  669 67 75 78

Maggie Bergsma  
+34 91 585 76 07  
Mobile:+34  615 02 31 04

Michael Powell  
Mobile: 613-797-7313

Discovery Air point of contact:

Sheila Venman   
866- 903-3247   
Mobile: 613-227-5710

To download a PDF version of this press release, please click here.

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