The Canadian Press is reporting that the federal government has reached an agreement with Sikorsky Aircraft to begin accepting the long-awaited CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopters.
According to the report, the deal is still being vetted by government lawyers and could take until early May to conclude, but it would see the Royal Canadian Air Force take possession of eight helicopters now as it moves to initial operation capability in 2015. Full operational capability is expected by 2018.
More importantly, the agreement would allow the RCAF to begin retiring it’s fleet of 50-year old Sea King helicopters next year.
To date, Sikorsky has delivered four of the 28 aircraft to 12 Wing Shearwater for initial training and testing. But Louis Chenevert, chairman of Sikorsky’s parent company, United Technologies, said last fall that the company had six more waiting in Plattsburgh, N.Y., and had the entire “28 helicopters in the build process.”
According to CP, the air force was asked to “revisit its list of expected capabilities” and “spell out clearly what aspects they ‘required’ as opposed what they ‘desired’ in the new helicopter.”