Tag Archives: CH-148

Canadian Cyclones accepted

Canada accepted the first six Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopters on Friday 18 June. The helicopters arrived at Shearwater airbase just outside Halifax. In the end, 28 Cyclones replace the CH-124 Sea King helicopters that fulfilled Canadian SAR duties for five decades.

Replacement of the trusty Sea King has been a headache for years in Canada. The AgustaWestland EH101 was meant to replace the old helo, but that contract was cancelled after a change of government. It resulted in a new contract for Sikorsky for 28 CH-148 Cyclones.

Problems
The new chopper is however not without problems. The Cyclone proved underpowered at first and unable of running its gearbox for 30 minutes without oil, a requirement set by Canada. The order was almost cancelled, but subsequent trials have set Canada at ease. Sikorsky and the Canadian Armed Forces conducted sea trials with the CH-148 Cyclone on HMCS Halifax between December 2014 and May 2015. The Cyclone conducted 67 sorties, including 322 landings and takeoffs from the frigate.

Before the end of the year, two more Cyclones will be delivered and the first two Sea Kings retired. The year 2018 should see the final end for the Sea King.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): A CH-148 Cyclone (Image © RCAF/Sikorsky)

 

Despite everything, Canada chooses Sikorsky

The first interim maritime helicopter, the CH-148 Cyclone, arrived at 12 Wing Shearwater, Canada at May 13, 2011, to support training of Canadian Forces aircrew and technicians for the Maritime Helicopter Project. (Image © RCAF/Sikorsky)
The first interim maritime helicopter, the CH-148 Cyclone, arrived at 12 Wing Shearwater, Canada at May 13, 2011, to support training of Canadian Forces aircrew and technicians for the Maritime Helicopter Project. (Image © RCAF/Sikorsky)

Despite painful delays, budget overruns and broken promises, the Government of Canada keeps choosing Sikorsky to provide the armed forces with the CH-148 Cyclone. The maritime helicopter will replace the aging Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CH-124 Sea Kings from 2015.

Canada says it now re-engages in a hard agreement with Sikorsky to “see delivery of helicopters with operational capability sufficient to begin retirement of Sea Kings in 2015, and a program to enhance those capabilities culminating in a fully capable CH-148 Cyclone in 2018”. Meaning, the RCAF for the first three years of operational service cannot use the new helicopters to their full advertised extend.

As we at AIRheads↑Fly reported in September, the Canadians were so mad at Sikorsky that they sent a team to the UK to validate the AgustaWestland AW101 Merlin in stead of the Sikorsky machine.

The renewed Canadian deal is a win for Sikorsky, which suffered from very bad PR because of the Canadian project. But it doesn’t come light. Sikorsky will not be able to squeeze any more money out of the deal until they upgrade the Cyclones to full capability. Furthermore, the American helicopter manufacturer will pay US$88.6 million in liquidated damages for the non-delivery for the choppers.

Cyclone initial training and testing on very limited machines will with the new deal now continue at RCAF base Shearwater in Nova Scotia. External consulting agency Hitachi – which advised the Canadian government to continue with the Sikorsky deal – “will remain engaged in the project to ensure delivery of a fully capable maritime helicopter”.

Source: Government of Canada

Canada mad at Sikorsky, might choose Merlins over Cyclones

The first interim maritime helicopter, the CH-148 Cyclone, arrived at 12 Wing Shearwater, Canada at May 13, 2011, to support training of Canadian Forces aircrew and technicians for the Maritime Helicopter Project. (Image © RCAF/Sikorsky)
The first interim maritime helicopter, the CH-148 Cyclone, arrived at 12 Wing Shearwater, Canada on May 13, 2011, to support training of Canadian Forces aircrew and technicians for the Maritime Helicopter Project. (Image © RCAF/Sikorsky)

The Canadian government is furious at American helicopter builder Sikorsky for continuously not delivering the purchased and promised 28 CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopters. The Canadians now sent a team of experts to the UK to check out the Royal Navy’s new Agusta Westland AW101 Merlin Mk2s.

The political and technical storm around the Cyclone helicopters has now reached such a point that Sikorsky might face a cancellation of the project by the Canadians all together, despite already paid damages for the years of delay and problems with the new CH-148s. The Royal Canadian Air Force needs the new helicopters by yesterday, to replace beautiful but dinosaur Sikorsky CH-124 Sea Kings in service since 1963.

The Royal Canadian Navy currently faces the lack of a modern air asset that can enlarge the range and effectiveness of the fleet with military, UN or disaster-relief operations. The Cyclones, flown by the Air Force on behalf of the Navy, are destined to execute anti-submarine warfare (ASW), surveillance and search and rescue missions from the Canadian vessels. The old Sea Kings don’t meet current standards and show fatigue after decades of service.

Problems with the engines, with the mission gear and loads of other more minor issues have resulted in not a single CH-148 planned to be introduced in 2008 is currently in effective active service. There is a pre-version CH-148 for training purposes only, but that is about it.

The Cyclones are based on the Sikorsky S-92. Therefore the problems the Canadians are facing, seem to be more bad news for the US presidential helicopter project as well. The Pentagon wants a further developed version of the S-92 as the new POTUS ride.

A drop of the CH-148 and selection of the AW101 Merlin instead would be kind of special. In 1990 the Canadians ordered 50 EH101s on which the Merlins are based, but the deal was cancelled directly after elections by the then new government.

After initial problems with the Merlins in the UK, the Royal Navy now seems really happy with the new Mk2s. The Merlin option would make maintenance for the Canadians also easier, since the RCAF already flies 15 AW101 based CH-149 Cormorants bright yellow SAR helicopters.

© 2013 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger