Cyclone helicopter

The Canadian Government has signed contract amendments with Sikorsky Aircraft for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) long-delayed Maritime Helicopter Project (MHP).

The amendments cover both the acquisition and long-term in-service support for 28 CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopters under the $5.7bn MHP programme.

The deliveries of the CH-148 will be timed to coincide with the decommissioning of RCAF’s ageing CH-124 Sea King helicopter fleet that will begin in 2015.

The fully developed CH-148 maritime helicopters will be delivered from 2018.

Canadian National Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said: "The CH-148 Cyclone will be a highly capable aircraft, making it a leading maritime helicopter."

"The deliveries of CH-148 will be timed to coincide with the decommissioning of CH-124 Sea King helicopter."

The new amendments ensure the sustainment of the Cyclone helicopters until 2038.

Sikorsky initially secured the MHP contract in 2004 for delivery of 28 CH-148s from 2009, but failed to honour the commitments, putting the programme years behind the original schedule.

A military version of the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter, the CH-148 Cyclone is a twin-engine, multi-role maritime helicopter capable of performing a full range of search-and-rescue (SAR) and utility missions in challenging environments.

Fully interoperable in a modern battle space, the helicopter will be designed to conduct a full spectrum of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare in hostile, high-threat environments.

The helicopters will be operated by the Canadian Forces Air Command, and are also scheduled to provide tactical transport for national and international security operations.

Image: The CH-148 Cyclone helicopter will be designed to carry out search-and-rescue and anti-submarine warfare missions. Photo: courtesy of Gerry Metzler.

Defence Technology