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Ottawa invests $850M in CFB Trenton to serve as CC-330 Husky operating base

March 11, 2024  By Helicopters Staff

Canada’s second CC-330 Husky, part of the project to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s fleet of CC-150 Polaris aircraft, arrived in Ottawa on February 16, 2024. (Photo: Canadian Armed Forces)

Minister of National Defence Bill Blair visited Canadian Forces Base Trenton to announce an investment of $850 million to upgrade the base, home of Royal Canadian Air Force’s air mobility operations, so it can host Canada’s new fleet of CC-330 Husky Strategic Tanker Transport Aircraft.

In total, nine CC-330 Husky aircraft will replace the RCAF’s current CC-150 Polaris fleet of five aircraft under the Strategic Tanker Transport Capability (STTC) project. STTC is funded by Canada’s 2017 defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, and Canada’s NORAD Modernization Plan, announced in June 2022, which is the largest investment in Canada’s NORAD capabilities in a generation.

The additional air-to-air refuelling aircraft funded by Canada’s $38.6 billion NORAD Modernization Plan will significantly increase the RCAF’s capacity, explains the government, and enable the RCAF to enhance Canadian sovereignty operations, including the Arctic.

The STTC project awarded a contract to Airbus Defence and Space SAU in June 2023 valued at $3.6 billion for the fleet of nine aircraft. It includes the acquisition of four new Airbus A330 MRTT aircraft along with the conversion of five used A330-200 aircraft. Initial operational capability for the CC-330 Husky fleet is planned for 2028 to 2029, and Full Operational Capability will follow by 2032-2033.


The $850 million investment at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Trenton will fund airfield and infrastructure work at Trenton, including the development and design of a two-bay hangar, an upgraded apron and runway, taxiways, and other supporting infrastructure. The government explains these upgrades will enable CFB Trenton to serve as the Eastern Main Operating Base for the new CC-330 Husky fleet.

“As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force, I am more confident than ever in its future,” said Blair. “With new fleets of fighter jets, maritime patrol aircraft, tanker and transport aircraft, and more arriving throughout the next few years, we are building the Royal Canadian Air Force of tomorrow. These significant investments in our military will enable the RCAF to better defend Canada and strengthen Canada’s ability to contribute to our NORAD and NATO Alliances.”

Under STTC, two Husky aircraft have been delivered to Canada so far, including the first one in 2023 and the second Husky (numbered 003) joined the CC-330 fleet on February 16, 2024. Although currently configured for transport, Ottawa notes the aircraft will eventually be converted to become a multi-role tanker transport aircraft. The CC-330 will provide the RCAF with increased flexibility to fulfill a variety of air mobility missions, including air-to-air refuelling, passenger transport, aeromedical evacuation, and strategic transport.

Blair at CFB Trenton also toured the first of three new CE-145C Vigilance aircraft, which arrived in Trenton on February 23, 2024. The CE-145C Vigilance is a modified Beechcraft King Air 350ER turbo prop aircraft produced by L3 Harris in Texas, under the MAISR project. It will provide a new manned airborne intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (MAISR) capability for the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM).

Since 2022, the Government of Canada has finalized the procurement or upgrade of approximately 140 new or refurbished aircraft for the RCAF, including 88 new F-35 fighter jets, 9 CC-330 Husky Strategic Tanker Transport aircraft, up to 16 new P-8A Poseidon multi-mission aircraft, 16 new or upgraded Cormorant helicopters; and 11 SkyGuardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems.

The STTC project, explains the government, has the potential to create or maintain 1,050 jobs annually in Canada and contribute $145 million annually to GDP over the life of the contract. The acquisition and maintenance contracts for the MAISR project have the potential to create or maintain approximately 65 jobs annually and contribute $7.5 million annually to Canada’s GDP over the life of the contract.

The MAISR project is valued at $246.9 million and includes the acquisition of the aircraft and prime mission equipment, modifications to infrastructure, training and initial in-service support.

A long-term in-service support contract for the CE-145C Vigilance aircraft was awarded on April 21, 2021, to Team CERTAS, consisting of General Dynamics Mission Systems-Canada from Ottawa, Ontario, and Voyageur Aviation Corporation from North Bay, Ontario. This contract has an initial value of $72 million (including taxes) for a period of eight years, with 15 one-year optional extension periods.

Delivery of the remaining two CE-145C Vigilance aircraft is expected in spring 2024, with Full Operational Capability expected approximately one year afterwards.



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