DH - Defence Helicopter

Leonardo welcomes Canada's commitment to Cormorant fleet

27th August 2019 - 13:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Leonardo has welcomed the commitment that the Canadian government has made to modernising its rotary-wing search and rescue helicopter capability, which will result in the acquisition of two more rotorcraft and the introduction of the Cormorant Mid-Life Upgrade (CMLU) programme. 

An announcement made by defence minister Harjit Sajjan on 22 August revealed that Canada would acquire at least two more Leonardo AW101-derived CH-149 rotorcraft, and begin an upgrade programme for the Royal Canadian Air Force's in-service fleet. 

‘Leonardo is very proud that the Cormorant has been trusted to provide the capabilities to ensure these rescues were possible in any weather condition anywhere in Canada or offshore, and with this announcement, will continue to do so for decades to come,’ the company said.

‘The Cormorant provides an unmatched capability in meeting Canada’s search and rescue requirements that allows the conduct of operations in areas not accessible by other helicopter types.’

The CMLU programme will upgrade the Cormorants to the latest AW101-612 standard that is currently being delivered to Norway, providing what Leonardo says is a low risk upgrade path.

This will include new avionics, a glass cockpit, the addition of the modern sensors, radar and search technologies, more powerful digitally-controlled engines, wireless in-cabin communications, LED lighting, rescue hoist upgrades, and synthetic training.

Under Team Cormorant, Leonardo will work with IMP Aerospace and Defence to deliver the CMLU programme in Canada, while CAE will deliver Canada’s first AW101 full motion simulator and other synthetic training capabilities. 

GE Canada will provide the new engines, and Collins Aerospace will provide the new cockpit displays and avionics, and Leonardo noted that other Canadian suppliers may also be brought into the programme. 

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