CONTINUOUS 30-MINUTE CANADIAN FORCES SEARCH AND RESCUE POSTURE NOT ON: DAVID PUGLIESE DEFENCE WATCH

30-MINUTE ROUND THE CLOCK SEARCH AND RESCUE RESPONSE POSTURE NOT PRACTICAL SAYS THE CANADIAN AIR FORCE BY

 

BY DAVID PUGLIESE

Ottawa Citizen

 

The positioning of Canadian Forces search and rescue aircraft as well as the speed in which SAR crews respond continues to be an ongoing issue for some of those who make their living at sea or in the remote areas of the country.

 

Laurie Sullivan, the owner of a Newfoundland-based fishing vessel which sank in September, has criticized the fact that a SAR helicopter was not based in St. John’s to assist in responding to emergencies in the North Atlantic. Two crew members died in that sinking.

 

The recent rescue of an Inuit teenager on an ice floe in the North has also raised questions about whether more SAR assets should be based in the Arctic while other have suggested that the Air Force should increase its SAR posture to a 30-minute continuous readiness posture.

 

Defence Watch has obtained a report on that issue, with the Air Force firmly coming out against a 24/7 30-minute readiness.

 

The current position is that when tasked, an aircraft must be airborne within 30 minutes during normal working hours and within two hours during all remaining quiet hours, according to the Air Force.

 

Unlike the two-hour SAR posture where crews and technicians hold a recall standby away from the squadron, a 30-minute SAR posture requires aircrews remain poised to launch from the flight line.

 

A 30-minute SAR posture is too expensive and would provide little benefit, according to The Canadian Forces Search and Rescue 30-minute Continuous Readiness Posture Force Generation Analysis obtained by Defence Watch.

 

An analysis of incidents between the years 2000-2004 determined that had a 30-minute posture been in effect on a 24/7 basis, “only a small increase in the probability of victim survival would have been gained by adopting a 30-minute posture.”

 

To reach the increased level of readiness would add more maintenance, require more aircraft and infrastructure upgrades, the report noted. According to the Air Force it would cost $387 million in extra capital costs and $540 million in overall annual recurring costs.

 

The Air Force also concluded that the timeline to achieve the enhanced posture would likely require six to eight years.

 

The end result is that the status quo will be maintained well into the future.

 

In January 2008, DND’s Chief of Review Services examined SAR and concluded the Canadian Forces “component of SAR operations functions quite well and remains highly relevant.”

 

That conclusion, however, will likely not be accepted by some of those who have called for improvements.

 

 

 

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

 

http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

 

 

 

Advertisements

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: