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Airbus Qualified as Bidder for Canada`s Strategic Tanker Replacement

Airbus has been qualified by the Government of Canada as a bidder for the Strategic Tanker Transport Capability (STTC) project under a procurement process launched to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Airbus A310MRTT (CC-150 Polaris) multirole tanker fleet. With this decision, Airbus Defence & Space is selected as the sole supplier for the CC-150 tanker replacement. While not specified in the statement, Airbus A330 MRTT becomes the only option after Boeing KC-46 is not qualified.

April 01, 2021

The invitation to qualify (ITQ), released at the beginning of 2021, has identified Airbus' A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft as capable of meeting the project's requirements which now moves to the next stage of the call for tender. A draft request for proposal (RFP) is expected in Q3 2021.

The STTC program looks to replace the RCAF CC-150 Polaris tanker fleet with a multirole aircraft capable of conducting a wide range of missions, including NATO and NORAD operations, ranging from air-to-air refueling (AAR) to strategic Government of Canada transport and aeromedical evacuation.

Regarding the decision, Simon Jacques, President of Airbus Defence and Space Canada, said: "The A330 MRTT is the only new generation, combat-proven, multirole tanker available. It is certified to operate with the majority of western receivers, including Canada's current fighters, transport, and mission aircraft. With more than 250,000 flight hours in service with 13 nations, including key NATO allies and Five Eyes partners such as Australia and the United Kingdom."

Active in several Canadian provinces, Airbus has approximately 3,800 employees across the country and sustains more than 23,000 indirect jobs in the aeronautics sector. Airbus works with over 665 suppliers in nine provinces, sourcing CAD$1.8 billion from Canadian companies.

All Airbus divisions are present in Canada with commercial aircraft in Mirabel, QC, helicopters in Fort Erie, ON, and Defense and Space in Ottawa, ON. Airbus 100% owned subsidiaries, Stelia Aerospace and NAVBLUE, also have installations in the country. In addition, Air Pro, a joint-venture between Airbus and PAL Aerospace, located in Ottawa, ON, provides in-service support to the FWSAR program in Canada (Airbus C295 aircraft to RCAF).

Following the announcement, Boeing also released a statement about the selection. "Boeing was informed by the government of Canada that the KC-46 did not qualify for the country's Strategic Tanker Transport Capability project. While disappointed in the decision, we will remain ready to bring the full depth and breadth of Boeing to our offer in the event Canada decides to reopen the bidding process. KC-46 offers superior interoperability, supportability, and affordability along with a robust industry plan that would bring real, guaranteed jobs to companies all across Canada. With 183 aircraft on order and growing international interest, we expect the global fleet to surpass 200 aircraft by 2029."