I have to say that until I'm entirely clear on the "lack of capability" that you describe, I'm ready to support a proposal that puts more aircraft where they need to be... and if it saves me money and we get comparable functionality, so be it. If the issue is purely about speed, then I'm not convinced.
National Post printed an article today, it seems - can't access it via the web (restricted to subscribers) but the folks at www.c-295.ca put up a synopsis (though I wonder what they left out? Has anybody else read it?)
Here what EADS CASA put on the site.
In an in-depth discussion with Martin Sefzig, Canadian representative for EADS-CASA, National Post correspondent Chris Wattie outlines the business case behind the company's solution for Canada's new search-and-rescue aircraft.
The article explores EADS-CASA's proposal for replacing Canada's current fleet of fixed-wing SAR aircraft, specifically the Canadian Forces' ageing CC-130 and CC-150 Buffalos, with CASA's C-295 aircraft.
In the article, Sefzig suggests that the C-295's lower purchase price and life-cycle costs would mean that the military could buy more aircraft and situate them in more locations, thereby enhancing its rescue coverage across the country and, in particular, in the Arctic.
"Based on the economic efficiencies our aircraft offers, we could provide the Canadian government with the option to think beyond what they currently have ... to greatly increase the current search-and-rescue coverage and also for sovereignty patrols," Wattie quotes Mr. Sefzig as saying. "With our aircraft, you could actually double the current coverage."
Wattie writes that Canada's search-and-rescue fleet must be able to respond to distress calls over 15.5 million square kilometres. However, Sefzig asserts that by situating the C-295 in Yellowknife, St. John's and Iqaluit, the military would be able to cover remote locations that now take up to 10 hours for southern-based rescue aircraft to reach. Sefzig adds that the C-295 is well suited for this role. "Our aircraft is already certified for the North.... It has been cold-weather tested for Arctic flights."
Wattie also quotes Sefzig as saying that Northern-situated aircraft would be able to serve multiple roles, including search-and-rescue and sovereignty patrols.