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CC-150 Polaris
A Royal Canadian Air Force Polaris taking off from Ottawa Airport
Role Strategic transport/VIP transport/tanker
Manufacturer Airbus
Designer Airbus
Introduction 1997
Status Active service
Primary users Canadian Forces
Royal Canadian Air Force
Number built 5
Developed from Airbus A310
Variants Airbus A310 MRTT

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

Design and development[edit | edit source]

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. [1]

Tanker Conversion[edit | edit source]

A CC-150 Polaris refueling two CF-18 Hornets.

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 (Luftwaffe) requirement and provided a cost effective solution for the CF.

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.[1]

Operational history[edit | edit source]

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.

The five CC-150s are operated by 437 Squadron at CFB Trenton, Ontario.

In 2011, two CC-150T air-to-air refueling tankers were deployed to support Canadian CF-18 fighter jets enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya under Operation Mobile and Operation Unified Protector.[2]

In 2013, the CC-150 used for VIP transport was repainted from gun-metal scheme to a more-colourful one based on RCAF colours during scheduled maintenance, at an additional cost of $50,000.[3]

Variants[edit | edit source]

1 VIP transport
2 strategic airlifters
2 aerial refueling tankers/strategic airlifters

Operators[edit | edit source]


Specifications[edit | edit source]

General characteristics

  • 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)

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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