Archive for the ‘HELICOPTERS’ Category


November 9, 2009


By David Pugliese

Ottawa Citizen


Defence Minister Peter MacKay has said the first Cyclone maritime helicopter is expected to arrive at Canadian Forces Base Shearwater “soon” but sources say the minister’s claims are somewhat misleading.


The sources say while the first helicopter is expected to arrive in early December from Sikorsky, it is not being actually accepted by the Canadian Forces; it is still sometime away from being on the Canadian Air Force’s flight line.


The first Cyclone (MH02) has just finished being painted at West Palm Beach in Canadian Forces colors but with its US/Sikorsky Experimental registration number on the tail.


This paint job is essential as protection against the elements during the sea trials for which the Cyclone is being sent to Canada.


The sea trials should have been completed almost 20 months ago according to the delivery schedule contracted with Sikorsky in 2004.


Successful completion of the sea trials, followed by development and approval of the ship-helicopter operating limitations (SHOL) for the new helicopter, which will require several months at least, are a MHP contractual obligation that must be met long before Canada accepts delivery of the first aircraft and can begin training its own pilots on the Cyclone, according to sources.


The first “sea trials” MH is currently scheduled to arrive at Shearwater sometime in early December 2009. The actual sea trials aboard HMCS MONTREAL are expected to begin in February 2010 if all goes well.


Sikorsky still has not responded to a Defence Watch request for comment.


For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:



November 7, 2009

Defence Minister Peter MacKay says the first Canadian Forces CH-148 Cyclone will arrive in Canada shortly.




MacKay, recently in Halifax, said that a Cyclone helicopter is expected at 12 Wing Shearwater soon (some in the defence community have suggested it could possibly arrive within weeks).




Jay Paxton, MacKay’s press secretary confirmed that the minister said that the first Cyclone would “soon” arrive. However, Paxton said that MacKay did not outline a specific timetable for the delivery or mention that it could be “within weeks.” Paxton did not provide further details on the delivery schedule.




The government had originally announced in December 2008 that the first Cyclone helicopter would be delivered in November 2010.




That is still a year from now, so if this original schedule is maintained then MacKay is arguably stretching the phrase “soon.”




Sikorsky did not respond to a Defence Watch request for comment.




The first 19 helicopters delivered to the Canadian Forces will be designated as Interim Maritime Helicopters (IMH). These IMH aircraft will be fully functional and able to conduct testing and evaluation and training for MH maintenance and air crews, yet will not be fully compliant with the delivery contract, according to DND. Delivery of the first fully capable MH aircraft that meets all contract specifications will be in June 2012, at which point the previous IMH aircraft will then be retrofitted.




Training of MH air and ground crews to operate the Cyclone will begin in 2010, while operational testing and evaluation will be carried out with the new Cyclone aircraft in order to verify and validate the operational capabilities of the aircraft prior to its release to service, DND has noted in its backgrounder on the Cyclone.




The delivery has long been anticipated.




In July 5, 2007, Capt Erik Weigelin, Project Officer, HOTEF (Shearwater’s Helicopter Operational Test & Evaluation Facility) wrote this for the Air Force:




“The much-anticipated arrival of the CH148 Cyclone to 12 Wing draws ever nearer, and preparations for its delivery continue at a rapid pace at Shearwater’s Helicopter Operational Test & Evaluation Facility. HOTEF is charged with conducting Initial Operational Test and Evaluation of Sikorsky’s newest helicopter to ensure it is fully capable of meeting the needs of the operational frontline crews who will man it, as well as the needs of the training squadron who will prepare those crews.



For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:




September 7, 2009

David Pugliese Ottawa Citizen photo Dangling from a Sea King

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news go to the Ottawa Citizen and David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:


May 14, 2008

Congress has been notified of the possible sale of six Chinook helicopters to Canada for operations in Afghanistan.


Notice of the possible sale of the CH-47D helicopters, along with associated equipment and services, was issued April 23 by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. The deal would be handled as a Foreign Military Sale.


Canada has requested six CH-47D Chinooks, along with spare engines, machineguns, night vision systems, communications and navigation gear and spare parts. It is also requesting contractor technical and logistics services be provided.


The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $375 million (U.S.), according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.


The proposed sale would include 12 T55-GA-714A Turbine engines, four M240H Machine Guns, 30 AN/AVS-6/7(V)1 Aviation Night Vision Imaging Systems, and two spare T-55-GA-714A Turbine engines, mission equipment, communication and navigation equipment, ground support equipment, spare and repair parts, special tools and test equipment, publications and technical data, site survey, Quality Assurance Team support, contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of logistics support.


The prime contractors would be The Boeing Company in Ridley Park, PA; Honeywell, Inc. in Phoenix, AZ; and FN Enterprise in Lubbock, TX, according to the notice.


The D model Chinooks will be an interim measure until the Canadian Forces can take delivery of the first of 16 Chinook F models. That, however, is not expected to take place until 2010 or 2011.


Negotiations for that sale are still ongoing between Boeing and the Canadian government. Canada has earmarked two billion Canadian dollars ($1.76 billion) for the program to buy the helicopters plus another 2.7 billion Canadian dollars for in-service support for the helicopters over a 20-year period.


Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier has said the helicopters are essential for missions such as in Afghanistan where large amounts of equipment are needed to be lifted in hot and mountainous terrain. The Canadian Forces also sees the Chinook as ideal for roles in domestic emergencies.


The Canadian military had operated Chinooks until the early 1990s but those were sold to the Netherlands to save costs.