The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is a major step closer to operating a new world-class maritime helicopter fleet with the official acceptance of six CH-148 Cyclones.
Defence Minister Jason Kenney joined Public Works and Government Services Minister Diane Finley, as well as Regional Minister for Nova Scotia and Justice Minister Peter MacKay, at 12 Wing Shearwater last week to mark this important milestone.
“We are taking another significant step forward in the Cyclone project. I am confident this modern aircraft will improve our aviator’s and sailor’s ability to work together in defence of Canada from current and future threats,” said Kenney.
The accepted aircraft will be based at 12 Wing Shearwater and are being used for training and testing with CAF personnel. The six helicopters were accepted as per the schedule set out in January 2014 and have the operational capability to allow the CAF to begin retiring the Sea Kings.
In its final configuration, the CH-148 Cyclone will be capable of a full range of anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, search and rescue and utility missions in various environments and will be one of the most capable maritime helicopters in the world.
Sikorsky and the CAF conducted sea trials with the CH-148 Cyclone on HMCS Halifax between December 2014 and May 2015. In support of the trials, the Cyclone conducted 67 sorties, including 322 landings and takeoffs from the frigate.
The aircraft’s capabilities will continue to be enhanced through future deliveries, with the CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopter fleet fully taking over for the Sea King beginning in 2018.
With a maximum cruise speed of 250km/hr, CH-148 Cyclone helicopters will be approximately 10% faster than the CH-124 Sea King. Further, the Cyclone has 36% larger usable cabin space, and it can exceed the range and endurance of a Sea King by 40% at max weight and sensor performance.
“The Sea King has faithfully served Canada for more than 50 years and has proven to be incredibly effective in undertaking a high number of simultaneous operations at home and abroad. I am honoured to be a part of this significant step toward providing Canada with the next generation of maritime helicopter capability, which will be one of the most capable maritime helicopters in the world,” said Brigadier-General Paul Ormsby, Royal Canadian Air Force.
The Sea King fleet will continue operations until 2018 to allow for the transition to the Cyclone fleet. The first two Sea Kings will be retired later this year.
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