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The CC-150 Polaris is the designation for the civilian Airbus A310-300s which have been converted for use as the primary long distance transport airplane for the Canadian Forces.

Design and development

The CC-150 replaced the Boeing CC-137 (converted Boeing 707) in 1997. The five Airbus aircraft were originally purchased by Wardair and were transferred to Canadian Airlines when the two airlines merged in 1989. They were subsequently purchased by the Canadian Forces from Canadian Airlines. The purchase included a support contract for service of the aircraft for a fixed number of flying hours.

Operational history

Four of the five aircraft were converted to the Combi-Freighter standard with a reinforced floor and side opening cargo door. The fifth was redone as a VIP transport aircraft for government executive transport.

The Polaris is classified as a strategic airlifter by the Canadian Forces. The CC-150 is able to carry cargo and personnel over long distances, but it lacks the oversize cargo capacity and ability to operate from austere locations which are a common requirement of military airlift.

The Canadian Forces primarily relies on leased aircraft to transport large cargo such as armoured vechicles. This has mostly been accomplished via commercially available types such as the Ilyushin Il-76 and occasionally the Antonov An-124 which was used to transport the Disaster Assistance Response Team - DART to Sri Lankamarker in 2005. Four Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, designated CC-177 by the CF, are now in service with the Canadian Forces to realise the capabilities that the CC-150 lacks, fulfilling the Future Strategic Airlifter Project.

The five CC-150s are operated by 437 Squadron at CFB Trentonmarker, Ontariomarker.

Tanker Conversion

Two of the five CC-150s are undergoing conversion as air-to-air refueling tankers for the CF-18 fleet as CC-150Ts. This was a capability that was lost when the CC-137s were retired. The conversion is part of the Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) program. The MRTT program was initiated because of a German Air Force requirement and provided a cost effective solution for the CF.

The CF has used converted C-130s, CF designation CC-130H(T), for training of CF-18 crews, but has relied on allied air forces for refueling tankers when the CF-18s have been deployed.

The first converted CC-150T was delivered to the CF in October 2004. Because the CC-150T uses the probe-and-drogue refuelling system, they are unable to refuel the newly-acquired CC-177s, as the CC-177 uses the 'flying boom' method of aerial refuelling.

Specifications

  • Length: 46.66 m
  • Wingspan: 43.9 m
  • Height: 15.8 m
  • Maximum Gross Weight: 157,000 kg (346, 200 lbs)
  • Empty Weight: 80,000 kg (176, 400 lbs)
  • Power: 2 GE CF6-80C2A2 jet engines
  • Speed: Mach .84 (max)
  • Ceiling:12,500 m
  • Range: 11,500 km
  • Load: Up to 32,000 kg
  • Passengers: 194


See also

References



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