Airbus CC-150 Polaris
|A Royal Canadian Air Force Polaris taking off from Ottawa Airport|
|Role||Strategic transport/VIP transport/tanker|
|Primary users||Canadian Forces
Royal Canadian Air Force
|Developed from||Airbus A310|
|Variants||Airbus A310 MRTT|
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. Air Canada acquired the CC-150 service contract when it purchased Canadian Airlines in 2000, and through a series of subsequent corporate restructurings, spawned the CC-150 service contract to Air Canada Technical Services (ACTS), and then Aveos Fleet Performance. Following the collapse of Aveos Fleet Performance in March, 2012, the Government of Canada awarded a one-year interim contract to L3 Communications to support the fleet of CC-150 aircraft until Canada can award a longer term aircraft maintenance contract through a competitive procurement process. 
Two of the five CC-150s have been converted to 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 Canadian Forces.
The RCAF uses converted C-130s, RCAF designation CC-130H(T), for tactical air-to-air refueling but is limited when deploying CF-18s overseas which is better suited by a Strategic AAR Platform. As a result of the CC-150s MRTT conversion, Canada has regained its own Strategic air-to-air refuelling capability.
The first converted CC-150T completed its acceptance trials in May 2008.
Four of the five aircraft were converted to the Combi-Freighter standard with a reinforced floor and side opening cargo door. The fifth was modified as a VIP transport aircraft for government executive transport. The Polaris is classified as a strategic airlifter by the Royal Canadian Air Force. 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 rely on other heavy lift cargo aircraft (such as the C-17 Globemaster) for these kinds of operations.
In 2013, the CC-150 used for VIP transport was repainted from gun-metal scheme to a paint scheme featuring red, white and splashes of blue during scheduled heavy maintenance, at an additional cost of $50,000.
- 1 VIP transport
- 2 strategic airlifters
- 2 aerial refueling tankers/strategic airlifters
- Crew: 2 (flightcrew)
- Capacity: 194 passengers
- Length: 46.66 m (153 ft 1 in)
- Wingspan: 43.9 m (144 ft 0 in)
- Height: 15.8 m (51 ft 10 in)
- Gross weight: 157,000 kg (346,126 lb)
- Powerplant: 2 × General Electric CF6-80C2A2 high bypass turbofan engines, 220 kN (50,000 lbf) thrust each
- Maximum speed: Mach 0.84
- Range: 9,600 km (5,965 mi; 5,184 nmi)
- Service ceiling: 12,500 m (41,010 ft)
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Related lists
- Strategic air-to-air refuelling capability
- "Update on CF Operations in Libya" Canadian Forces website, 22 March 2011
- Stephen Harper’s jet makeover slammed by opposition
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