An overview of our search and rescue aircraft

News Article / September 24, 2020

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Successful search and rescue (SAR) operations depend on, among other factors, having the right capabilities at the right time. SAR Technicians use many different kinds of equipment to do their job, but they rely on aircraft to transport them where they need to go to save lives. Here are, in no particular order, the aircraft that Canadian SAR Technicians use in their everyday work.  

CC-115 Buffalo

The CC-115 Buffalo plays a critical role in supporting life-saving search and rescue missions. Its agility and all-weather capabilities are well suited for the rough and mountainous terrain on Canada’s West Coast and in northern operations.

The Buffalo is a utility transport aircraft that can take off and land on the most rugged strips as short as a soccer field. It serves a vast territory from the British Columbia / Washington border to the Arctic and from the Rocky Mountains to 1,200 kilometres out over the Pacific Ocean.

CC-130H Hercules

The CC-130H Hercules is primarily used for search and rescue operations. While it also carries out transport missions, its main focus is saving lives through the Canadian Armed Forces’ search and rescue mandate.

It has a range of more than 7,200 kilometres and can transport approximately 80 passengers, operate on short unpaved runways and fly in severe weather conditions. These capabilities make the CC-130H an excellent aircraft for search and rescue operations over the vast span of Canada’s central and northern regions.

CH-146 Griffon

The CH-146 Griffon utility tactical-transport helicopter supports the tactical transportation of troops and materiel as well as search and rescue operations, surveillance and reconnaissance, training, casualty evacuations and counter-drug operations.

The Griffon features GPS-satellite navigation and Doppler-radar systems. It can also be fitted with a variety of equipment, including self-defence weapons, a powerful searchlight, and a hoist to extract people and cargo from almost any terrain.

CH-149 Cormorant

The CH-149 Cormorant is a long-range helicopter dedicated to search and rescue. It can operate in severe conditions, making it ideal for Canada’s challenging geography and climate.

The Cormorant can carry up to 12 stretchers or a load of 5,000 kilograms. Its advanced systems provide a stable hover for critical hoisting operations. It has helped rescue mountain climbers, lost hikers, ship crews and more.

CC-295

Canada’s new search and rescue CC-295 fleet will be composed of modern, proven aircraft that will allow the RCAF to conduct more effective search and rescue missions in all weather conditions, including reduced visibility, at long range.

The RCAF will operate the new fixed-wing fleet from 19 Wing Comox, 17 Wing Winnipeg, 8 Wing Trenton, and 14 Wing Greenwood; the same locations currently providing search and rescue services across the country. RCAF search and rescue aircraft and personnel are located where they can effectively respond to search and rescue incidents in all regions of Canada, considering factors such as the historical distribution of incidents, aircraft performance, and the co-location of forces with supporting infrastructure.


 

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