PARIS (Reuters) - Canada is set to select Airbus Group <AIR.PA> to provide search-and-rescue (SAR) aircraft, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, with Airbus beating Italy's Leonardo <LDOF.MI> in winning the deal.
A formal decision on the matter is expected on Thursday. Airbus Group and Leonardo both declined to comment on the competition.
Airbus Group SE's C-295 and Leonardo Aircraft's C-27J Spartan had emerged as the front-runners for the Canadian contract, estimated in media reports to be worth about C$ 3 billion ($2.3 billion).
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Embraer's <EMBR3.SA> KC-390 is also part of the competition, but the aircraft is not expected to win because the program is still in development and Canada's government wants an aircraft that is already certified.
The press secretary for Canada's Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan declined comment on the results of the competition, following a report on Tuesday in the Ottawa Citizen that said Airbus was the winner.
The Canadian government has said the SAR aircraft procurement will allow the Royal Canadian Air Force to replace its current fixed-wing fleet of six CC-115 Buffalo aircraft and 13 CC-130H Hercules aircraft that are being used in Canada for search-and-rescue missions.
(Reporting by Tim Hepher and Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Andrew Callus and Grant McCool)