Canada has negotiated a new contract with Sikorsky for the delayed delivery of the 28 CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopters on order. Originally planned for November this year, first deliveries have been rescheduled for November 2010 - "allowing necessary operational testing and training to begin prior to the delivery of fully capable helicopters starting in 2012, with a complete fleet of helicopters by 2013", says Canada's procurement agency PWGSC.
The first CH-148 entered flight testing at Sikorsky on Nov. 17. The Cyclone, which the company also calls the MH-92, is a military derivative of the S-92 commercial helicopter. Developing and integrating the many changes, including a fly-by-wire flight control system and anti-submarine/anti-surface-warfare mission system, proved more difficult than Sikorsky envisaged.
Canada says the renegotiation has added C$77 million to Sikorsky's C$1.8 billion contract to supply 28 shipborne helicopters, and C$40 million to its companion C$3.2 billion contract to provide 20 years of in-service support. The increases will be funded from within the original project budget, says PWGSC. In return, Canada is "getting compliant maritime helicopters with a minimum of delay...including valuable, cost effective additional capabilities that will provide flexibility to address new requirements during the service life of the helicopter." No details of those improvements are provided.