Canada receives first Cyclone maritime helicopter
The Canadian Maritime Helicopter Project is seeing ‘steady progress’ after the first interim CH-148 Cyclone arrived at 12 Wing Shearwater in Nova Scotia on 13 May.
The arrival was not a ‘formal delivery’, the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) pointed out, as Sikorsky has not yet met all of its contractual requirements. Delivery and ownership will be assumed once a Canadian military airworthiness certificate is granted, and initial aircrew flight training is conducted.
Until then, the company retains control and title of the aircraft, and formal delivery is expected ‘later this summer’.
‘The arrival of this helicopter in Shearwater demonstrates progress with this project and brings us one step closer towards the delivery of a maritime helicopter capability that provides the Canadian Forces with a modern, flexible helicopter to assist in the defence of Canada,’ said Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence.
Shephard reported in March that the aircraft was ‘weeks rather than months’ away from delivery, even though the six interim aircraft were originally expected in November.
Following a dispute over the replacement of Canada’s maritime helicopters, in 2004 28 aircraft were ordered under a $1.8 billion contract to replace the country’s CH-124 Sea King fleet.
The contract was amended in June 2010 and the company announced that a provisional six interim helicopters were to be delivered, after the original order was delayed due to issues surrounding the General Dynamics mission system integration. However that delivery was further delayed due to undisclosed issues, which Sikorsky claimed was beyond its control.
The first nine of the 28 aircraft is scheduled to arrive in 2014, and the DND considers that in its final configuration the Cyclone will be ‘one of the most capable maritime helicopters in the world’.
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