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  • Canada Cyclones to Arrive This Month?
    Posted by Graham Warwick 4:25 PM on Mar 08, 2011

    Sikorsky could deliver the first of Canada's much-delayed CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopters this month, said president Jeff Pino yesterday at the Heli-Expo show in Orlando. The initial helicopters will not be fully compliant with the Canadian requirement, but will allow training to begin.

    blog post photo
    CH-148 Cyclone (Photo: Canadian Forces)

    The work still to be done to deliver fully mission-capable aircraft, set for 2012, is "mostly software and some additional power - we're waiting on the engine [GE's CT7-8A6]," says Pino. The additional power will "run through a bigger transmission," but he will not be drawn out on whether it will have the 30-min run-dry capability that the current main gearbox -- from the commercial S-92 on which the CH-148 is based -- does not.

    After a Cougar Helicopters S-92 crashed off Newfoundland in 2009, killing 17 people, when the gearbox failed just 11min after a total loss of oil, there were very public demands in Canada for the CH-148 to have the same 30-min run-dry capability as other military and some commercial helicopters.

    Pino says Sikorsky is still in talks with the Canadian government (aka "the Crown") on the new gearbox. "Another six months with the Crown and we will have a  final configuration for the transmission," he says. Pino also will not comment on the penalties Sikorsky will pay for the Cyclone delays, but he does acknowledge the company "will take a write-off on every delivery" over the 28 helicopters.

    But -- and it is a big but -- Sikorsky's fixed-price contract includes 20 years of tip-to-tail in-service support over which the company can recover its losses, and despite the penalties Pino still describes the contract to replace Canada's long-serving CH-124 Sea Kings as "lucrative".

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    CH-124 Sea King. (Photo: Canadian Forces)

    Sikorsky is already offering the CH-148 in Germany, and Pino says this more-powerful, fly-by-wire version of the S-92 will be the basis of Sikorsky's offer for the restaged VXX US Presidential helicopter competition. The US Navy's analysis of alternatives for VXX is reportedly complete, but no details have emerged yet.

    Although Heli-Expo is a civil show, Pino also gave a quick run-down on Sikorsky's military programs. Some highlights: UAE has signed the launch order for 17 kits to turn UH-60M Black Hawks into armed Battlehawks; the Saudi Ministry of Interior is the first customer for the Polish-assembled S-70i International Black Hawk with an order for three and options for 12; and Sweden has submitted a letter of request for 15 UH-60Ms to operate in Afghanistan. Taiwan is seeking 60 UH-60Ms and the Saudis 72.

    Tags: ar99, Canada, rotorcraft, heli11

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