Canada reveals new delay for interim CH-148 delivery

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Canada's top defence official said on 26 May that Sikorsky has delayed formal delivery of the first of six interim CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopters to the third quarter.

The new timetable marks the latest in a long series of delays since Sikorsky was awarded the contract in 2004 to deliver 28 military derivatives of the S-92 under the maritime helicopter programme (MHP).

The original contract called for first delivery in 2009, but Canada last year agreed to accept the first six aircraft with an "interim" capability in November 2010. That schedule was further delayed to the first half of 2011.

It appeared that Sikorsky had met its obligation when the first CH-148 arrived on 13 May at Shearwater, Nova Scotia. But the aircraft has not been formally delivered because Sikorsky failed to meet all of the contractual delivery requirements, Minister of Defence Peter MacKay said in a statement.

 
 Photo courtesy of Canadian Air Force
Although the first CH-148 is now based with 12 Wing at Shearwater, the first aircraft will remain under Sikorsky's control until the contract is fulfilled, McKay said, adding that milestone is "expected later this summer".

Sikorsky must clear a Canadian certification process for military airworthiness and conduct initial training for aircrew before formal delivery is declared, MacKay said.

"The arrival of this helicopter demonstrates progress with this project and brings us one step closer towards the delivery of a maritime helicopter capability," MacKay said.

It was not immediately clear when Sikorsky will deliver the five other interim helicopters, or the remaining 22 CH-148s with a full capability suite. As of last July, Sikorsky was required to deliver the CH-148s with full capability by June 2012.

The six interim helicopters are being delivered without some operational software, maximum engine power, full endurance and automated datalinks.

 
 Photo courtesy of Canadian air force