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Airbus CC-150 Polaris "1992"

The Airbus CC-150 Polaris is the designation for the civilian Airbus A310-300s which have been converted into multi-purpose, long-range jet aircraft for passenger, freight or medical transport and mid-air refueling for the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Airbus CC-150 Polaris "1992"

Role Strategic transport/VIP transport/tanker
Manufacturer Airbus
Introduction 1992
Status Active service
Primary users Canadian Forces / Royal Canadian Air Force
Number built 5 (all converted from Airbus A310-300)
Developed from Airbus A310 MRTT

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Airbus CC-150 Polaris "1992"

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Airbus CC-150 Polaris

The Airbus CC-150 Polaris is the designation for the civilian Airbus A310-300s which have been converted into multi-purpose, long-range jet aircraft for passenger, freight or medical transport and mid-air refueling for the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The five Airbus aircraft that make up the fleet were originally civilian airliners purchased and operated by Wardair. First delivered in 1987 and 1988, they were transferred to Canadian Airlines when the two airlines merged in 1989. The aircraft were subsequently sold to the Canadian Forces and converted for military use, entering service between December 1992 and August 1993.[1][2] 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 CC-150 replaced the Boeing CC-137 (converted Boeing 707) as a strategic transport when the final transport-configured CC-137s were retired in 1997.

CC-150 Polaris Design

In 2008, two of the five CC-150s were converted to air-to-air refuelling tankers with a new military mission avionics package for the CF-18 fleet as part of the Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) program. The Polaris tankers are capable of ferrying a flight of four CF-18 Hornets non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean, off-loading 80,000 pounds of fuel to the receiving aircraft over a 2,500 nautical mile (4,630 km) leg. The MRTT program was initiated because of a German Air Force requirement and provided a cost-effective solution for the Canadian Forces. The converted aircraft have been designated CC-150T. The tankers have hose-drogue pods under the wings.

The RCAF uses converted C-130s, RCAF designation CC-130H(T), for tactical air-to-air refuelling but is limited when deploying CF-18s overseas, as they are better served by a strategic AAR platform. As a result of the CC-150’s MRTT conversion, Canada regained its strategic air-to-air refuelling capability, lost when the final tanker-configured CC-137s were retired in 1997 (13703 & 13704 were modified with Beech refuelling kits in mid-1972 in support of the CF-5 tactical fighter).[

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Airbus CC-150 Polaris (1992)

The decision to outfit one of the five CC-150s as a VIP transport intended for use by the Prime Minister of Canada, made while Brian Mulroney held office, was politically controversial. The $56 million in upgrades were criticized as a needless extravagance during a time of government budgetary challenges by then-Leader of the Opposition Jean Chrétien, who labelled the aircraft a “flying Taj Mahal“. Chrétien became Prime Minister soon thereafter and tried and failed to sell the aircraft; he refused to use the CC-150 during his ensuing 11 years in office. The interior was downgraded to a smaller, less lavish VIP cabin and the aircraft offered limited communications capability.[

Specifications

  • Crew: 2 (flight crew)
  • Capacity: 194 passengers (up to) or 33,000 kg (73,000 lb) payload
  • Length: 46.66 m (153 ft 1 in)
  • Wingspan: 43.9 m (144 ft 0 in)
  • Height: 15.8 m (51 ft 10 in)
  • Empty weight: 80,000 kg (176,370 lb)
  • 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

Performance

  • Maximum speed: Mach 0.84
  • Range: 9,600 km (6,000 mi, 5,200 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 12,500 m (41,000 ft)

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In December 2019, the VIP CC-150 suffered significant structural damage to the nose and right engine cowling. While being towed by contracted personnel at CFB Trenton, it rolled into the back wall of a hangar. The aircraft was scheduled to remain out of service until August 2020, but the grounding was extended due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.[13] It was returned to service in March 2021

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