The Maritime Helicopter (MH) project is a complex program that involves the delivery of 28 state-of-the-art, combat-capable CH-148 Cyclone helicopters, associated logistical and in-service support, and spare parts. The project also includes modifications to the Halifax-class ships and construction of a new training facility equipped with a full training suite of flight, mission and maintenance simulators.
The new CH-148 Cyclone, in its final configuration, will be at the forefront of modern technology and one of the most capable maritime helicopters in the world.
Chronology of Events
The Government of Canada announced the signing of two separate but interrelated contracts with Sikorsky International Operations Inc. (Sikorsky) for the Maritime Helicopter Project.
Acquisition: The first contract, worth $1.8 billion, was for 28 fully integrated, certified and qualified helicopters with their mission systems installed, to replace the Canadian Forces’ CH-124 Sea King helicopter fleet. Delivery of the first helicopter was expected in November 2008.
Maintenance/Infrastructure: The second contract, valued at $3.2 billion, was for 20-years of in-service support for the helicopters, and included a simulator, training suite, and the construction of a training facility.
Sikorsky formally claimed for schedule relief because of “excusable delays,” thereby advising the government of a delay in the planned delivery date.
Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), along with the Department of National Defence (DND), worked toward resolution with Sikorsky. The contract was amended to reflect a new, tiered schedule with delivery of interim helicopters beginning in November 2010, and delivery of fully compliant helicopters beginning in June 2012. As a result of the contract amendment, the new contract values were now $1.9 billion for acquisition and $3.4 billion for long term in-service support.
Sikorsky advised the Government of Canada of potential difficulties delivering an interim helicopter with fully compliant mission systems software by November 2010.
The first round of Ship/Helicopter Operating Limitations (SHOL) trials was successfully completed. The objective of the SHOL trials was to test and validate the design of the ship modification of the hangar and flight deck for Cyclone compatibility. These trials also demonstrated and determined safe flight parameters for future ship/helicopter operations, and developed standard operating procedures.
•June 30, 2010:
The contract was amended for a second time and both the government and Sikorsky agreed that Canada would take delivery of the first six interim helicopters with a preliminary version of the mission software starting on November 30, 2010. There was no change in contract values associated with this amendment.
Sikorsky advised the Government of Canada that there would be further delays to the delivery of the interim maritime helicopters.
The second round of Ship/Helicopter Operating Limitations (SHOL) trials was successfully completed. The objective of the SHOL2 trials was to continue evaluation on the CH-148 and Halifax Class ship aviation facilities compatibility, and to develop launch-recovery, vertical replenishment, helicopter in flight refuelling, rescue hoist, and deck-handling under the very demanding sea state conditions that will be experienced when the Cyclone enters operational service.
•May 12, 2011:
The first interim helicopter (MH 806) arrived at 12 Wing Shearwater as part of Sikorsky’s contractual obligation to deliver initial training to Canadian Forces personnel.
This helicopter was used by Sikorsky as a ground-based aid to support training of technicians, allowing technicians to conduct hands-on practical training for various maintenance tasks, such as troubleshooting, component removal and installation, as well as post-maintenance functional checks to ensure proper operation of aircraft systems.
•May 17, 2012:
MH 806, which was located at 12 Wing since May 2011, departed for the Sikorsky facility at West Palm Beach, Florida to undergo modifications prior to returning to 12 Wing Shearwater at a later date.
•June 7, 2012:
Sikorsky flew an interim maritime helicopter (MH 805) to 12 Wing Shearwater as part of its contractual obligation to provide initial cadre training to Canadian Forces aircrew and technicians. The interim maritime helicopters will be used by Sikorsky for maintenance demonstrations and to further support initial cadre training to Canadian Forces aircrew and technicians. The interim maritime helicopters will remain under Sikorsky title and control until all contractual delivery requirements have been met. Once the delivery requirements have been met, DND/CF will take delivery allowing the Royal Canadian Air Force to commence Initial Operational Test and Evaluation.
•June 16, 2012:
Another interim maritime helicopter (MH 808) arrived at 12 Wing Shearwater as part of Sikorsky’s contractual obligation to provide initial cadre training to Canadian Forces aircrew and technicians.
Some critical work remains outstanding before the Canadian Forces can take formal delivery of the first interim maritime helicopters. Most notably, a Canadian military flight clearance and training for the initial cadre of aircrew and technicians need to be completed.
DND continues to closely monitor progress towards achieving all delivery requirements for the interim maritime helicopters, as well as the potential impact on the schedule for delivery of the final version of the Cyclone. The Canadian Forces expect to take formal delivery of the interim maritime helicopters in 2012.