Canada’s Ministry of Defense said an international investigation was underway after Canadian and French Air Force planes “contacted” at a U.S. Air Force base in Guam last week.
The Pentagon told Global News that the incident occurred on Friday at a gangway at Anderson Air Force Base, where “two aircraft collided.”
The two aircraft are a Canadian CC-150 Polaris military transport aircraft and a French Air Force A400M, also used as a military transport aircraft.
“No one was on board the Canadian plane at the time and there were no reports of casualties,” ministry spokesman Daniel Le Boutillier said in a statement Monday.
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Canadian, French and US Air Forces are investigating what happened.
Le Boutillier did not elaborate on how the incident occurred or the extent of damage to Canadian or French aircraft.
“We cannot comment on the potential cause of the damage as this issue is still being investigated through the flight safety review process,” he said.
Global News has reached out to the French Ministry of Defense for further information on what happened.
The Pentagon reached out to Anderson Air Force Base with questions about the incident, but the press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This is not the first time a Canadian aircraft has been involved in an incident at an air force base.
In 2019, another CC-150 Polaris—most commonly used to transport Prime Ministers, Governors and other high-ranking officials—crashed in an aircraft hangar in Trenton, Ontario.
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According to the military incident summary, the aircraft stopped with both the parking brake and wheel chocks (wedges to prevent the wheels from turning) in place, awaiting towing to a hangar.
However, the plane began to roll of its own accord over the chocks, the nose struck the wall of the hangar, and the right engine of the plane struck a towing tractor inside the hangar.
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The military said at the time that the plane was “severely damaged” and grounded for several months for repairs.
Canada has operated five Polaris aircraft for military, medical and diplomatic flights since 1992. Two of them also carry out air-to-air refueling.
The federal government is now working to replace that aircraft with six new aircraft.
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Last year, Defense Minister Anita Anand announced that the ministry had purchased its first replacement, two Airbus A330-200s built in 2015, for US$102 million. The two planes are expected to arrive in Canada by the end of this year.
The ministry will procure a total of six new military transport aircraft for the new fleet.
DND announced Monday that the Polaris plane involved in the incident at Anderson Air Force Base was in Guam to repatriate Canadian servicemen who were participating in the US Air Force’s exercise Mobility Guardian.
The U.S. Air Force described the exercise as the Air Force Task Force’s “largest and perhaps the most difficult exercise in years” aimed at ensuring combat readiness and “war readiness” in the Indo-Pacific region.
Canada has pledged to strengthen its military presence in the region as part of its larger Indo-Pacific strategy.
— with files from Global’s Amanda Connolly
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