Military dealing with gap in search-and-rescue services due to new procurement delay

·1 min read

OTTAWA — The Royal Canadian Air Force is relocating two aircraft from Winnipeg to Vancouver Island to address a gap in Canada’s search-and-rescue services.

The gap is the result of a new delay in the military's new Kingfisher rescue planes, news of which comes months after the air force retired the last of its ancient Buffalo aircraft.

Air Force commander Lt.-Gen. Al Meinzinger says two Hercules aircraft will be moved from Winnipeg to Comox, B.C., to plug the gap until the Kingfishers are ready.

The Kingfishers were supposed to have started flying search-and-rescue missions in 2020, but officials now say they won't be operational until 2025 at the earliest.

While redeploying two of the four Hercules in Winnipeg will help address the shortfall, Meinzinger acknowledged the move will impact the squadron’s other tasks.

Those include refuelling fighter jets defending North American airspace, and transporting troops and equipment around Canada and the world.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 4, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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