The CC-150 Polaris (Airbus A-310) long-range transport aircraft has been in service with the Canadian Forces in southwest Asia since 2001, when a Polaris deployed with about 40 personnel to the Persian Gulf region on Operation APOLLO. The Strategic Airlift Detachment was tasked with medical evacuation, sustainment and re-supply, rapid delivery of operationally required items and movement of personnel. During Operation APOLLO, the Strategic Airlift Detachment moved approximately 3.5 million kilograms (about 7.72 million pounds) of cargo and more than 2,300 passengers.
On Operation ATHENA, the CC-150 Polaris fleet continues to operate as part of the air bridge between Canada and Afghanistan in support of Joint Task Force Afghanistan.
The CC-150 Polaris is a multi-purpose, twin-engine, long-range jet aircraft that can be converted for passenger, freight or medical transport, or any combination of these configurations. The Polaris can reach a speed of up to Mach 0.84 (1029 km/h) carrying a load of up to 32,000 kilograms (70,560 pounds). Passenger loads range from 28 to 194 people, depending on the particular aircraft tail number and configuration.
The five Canadian Forces CC-150 Polaris aircraft are principally stationed at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario. During its years in service, the Polaris fleet has transported vast amounts of supplies to Canadian Forces personnel deployed on operational missions in many parts of the world. In October 2005, two Polaris carried the advance party and main body of the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to Pakistan to conduct a humanitarian operation in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake. In domestic operations, the CC-150 Polaris airlifted about 1,500 troops to battle forest fires around Kelowna, British Columbia under Operation PEREGRINE in 2003.
As part of the Air Force Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) program, two CC-150 Polaris aircraft have been converted to strategic air-to-air refuellers for Canada’s fleet of CF-18 Hornet fighter aircraft. The Polaris MRTT is capable of transferring 36,000 kilograms (79,380 pounds) of fuel to receiving aircraft over a journey of 4,630 kilometres (2,875 statute miles). Consequently, one Polaris tanker can ferry a flight of four CF 18 Hornets non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean.
When configured for VIP passengers, the CC-150 Polaris is used to transport high-ranking government officials and foreign dignitaries, including the Prime Minister, the Governor General and members of the Royal Family across Canada and around the world.