Last month the Government of Canada announced it was making investments to ensure the women and men of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) have the equipment they need to fulfill their missions, including search and rescue (SAR) operations.
In support of this priority, Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan announced in Comox, British Columbia investments in the search and rescue fleet of CH-149 Cormorant helicopters in August.
“Canadians rely on the women and men of the Royal Canadian Air Force to conduct successful search and rescue operations in challenging circumstances. These enhancements to the CH-149 Cormorant fleet will ensure that search and rescue crews have the right equipment to continue providing these life-saving services,” says Sajjan.
Through the investments announced, the fleet will receive at least two additional helicopters and be upgraded to extend its life to at least 2042.
The project office will conduct this work with Leonardo S.p.A. in partnership with IMP Aerospace, and CAE.
Canada’s Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy applies to this project.
It requires the contractor, Leonardo, to undertake economic activity in Canada equal to the value of the contract, which will provide opportunities to develop key industrial capabilities in Canada.
“Through Canada’s Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy, our government is making sure that this project delivers jobs and economic benefits across the country. For every dollar Leonardo will receive as part of this contract, the company will invest one dollar back into our economy. This will ensure the company will continue to be a key contributor to our economic growth, creating more jobs for Canadians and spurring innovation,” says Navdeep Bains, innovation, science and economic development minister
The CH-149 Cormorant provides a helicopter capability that allows search and rescue crews to conduct operations in areas not accessible by other helicopter fleets.
With this project, the CH-149s will be upgraded to the AW101-612 design, which is the helicopter model recently procured by Norway for their search and rescue missions.
Upgrading and enhancing this critical capability will ensure that it continues to be the reliable aircraft needed to conduct successful search and rescue operations in Canada’s challenging environment.
“Every year, the Royal Canadian Air Force flies about 1,000 missions in support of search and rescue, a core mission of the Canadian Armed Forces. These upgrades to the CH-149 Cormorant and an increase in fleet size ensures the RCAF will continue to deliver search and rescue services in the challenging Canadian environment,” says Lieutenant-General A.D. Meinzinger, commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force
Currently, the CH-149’s are based at 19 Wing Comox, 9 Wing Gander, and 14 Wing Greenwood.