Canadian Warplanes 6: Jets, Airbus CC-150 Polaris

Canadian Warplanes, Jets,

Airbus CC-150 Polaris

(Author Photo)

Airbus CC-150 Polaris, designation for the civilian Airbus A310-300s which have been converted for use as the primary long distance transport aircraft and mid-air refueler for the RCAF.  The fleet of five Airbus aircraft were originally purchased by Wardair as civilian airliners.  The five were delivered between 1987-1988 and transferred to Canadian Airlines when the two airlines merged in 1989.  They were subsequently purchased by the Canadian Forces from Canadian Airlines and converted for military use with the aircraft entering service between December 1992 and August 1993.  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 upon the retirement of the final transport-configured CC-137s in 1995.

In 2008, two of the five CC-150s were converted to air-to-air refueling tankers for the McDonnell CF-188 Hornet fleet as 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 converted aircraft have been designated as the CC-150T.  The tanker has hose-drogue pods under the wings.  The first converted CC-150T completed its acceptance trials in May 2008.  

The Polaris is classified as a strategic airlifter by the RCAF.  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 Boeing C-177 Globemaster III) for these kinds of operations.  The five CC-150s are operated by 437 Squadron at CFB Trenton, Ontario.  (Wikipedia)

Airbus CC-150 Polaris (5), (Serial Nos. 15001-15005).

(John Davies Photo)

Airbus CC-150 Polaris (Serial No. 15005), operating out of CFB Trenton, Ontario.

(John Davies Photo)

Airbus CC-150 Polaris (Serial No. 15004), operating out of CFB Trenton, Ontario.  

(RCAF Photo)

Airbus CC-150 Polaris in service with the RCAF, operating out of CFB Trenton, Ontario.

(RCAF Photo)

Airbus CC-150 Polaris (Serial No. 15001), CFB Trenton, current paint scheme.

(Kambui Photo)

Airbus CC-150 Polaris (Serial No. 15001).

(Bob Adams Photo)

Airbus CC-150 Polaris (Serial No. 15005).

(Mike Kaehler Photo)

Airbus CC-150 Polaris (Serial No. 15003) in retro paint scheme.  As was the style, for a period of time, the aircraft is marked with French on the right side of the fuselage and English on the left side.