CAE, GE Canada, and Rockwell to support RCAF’s Cormorant helicopter upgrade


CAE, GE Canada, and Rockwell Collins in Canada have joined ‘Team Cormorant’ to support the mid-life upgrade and expansion of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) fleet of EH101/CH-149 Cormorant search-and-rescue (SAR) helicopters.

In May this year, Leonardo Helicopters and IMP re-established ‘Team Cormorant’ for the conversion of AW101-519 helicopters to help expand the RCAF’s existing fleet of CH-149 helicopters.

Leonardo Helicopters is the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of the EH101 and AW101 helicopters, while IMP Aerospace and Defence serves as the prime contractor for Cormorant in-service support.

CAE and Rockwell Collins will provide training systems integration capability and advanced cockpit display system respectively in support of the Cormorant mid-life upgrade (CMLU) and conversion programme.

Meanwhile, GE Canada will serve as the OEM for the T700-T6A1 engines in the Cormorant and for the CT7-8E engines installed on the AW101-519 helicopters.

Leonardo Helicopters managing director Daniele Romiti said: “The addition of CAE, GE Canada and Rockwell Collins further strengthens the industrial footprint of Team Cormorant in Canada and will help it deliver the most significant value proposition."

“The CMLU will build on the capability of the Cormorant upgrading the CH-149 avionics suite to deliver enhanced performance to operate in all weather conditions.”

"The addition of CAE, GE Canada and Rockwell Collins further strengthens the industrial footprint of Team Cormorant in Canada and will help it deliver the most significant value proposition."

The CMLU and conversion programme is anticipated to create a fleet of the world’s most advanced and capable SAR helicopters available.

With a preliminary estimate of C$500m to C$1.5bn, the programme will offer a common fleet featuring latest avionic and mission systems, advanced radars and sensors, vision enhancement, and tracking systems.

The RCAF’s current fleet of 14 Cormorant helicopters will be modernised to extend their service life until 2040.

Final delivery of the upgraded CH-149 helicopters is expected to take place in 2024.


Image: An AW101 helicopter in flight. Photo: courtesy of Leonardo – Società per azioni.