Boeing has joined the EH Industries-led team planning to offer the EH101 for the Canadian Forces' Maritime Helicopter Programme (MHP).

Boeing will supply the maritime patrol mission system for the Cormorant version of the EH101 that will be offered to meet the 35-aircraft Sikorsky Sea King replacement requirement. The system will be derived from that under development by Boeing for the UK Royal Air Force's upgraded British Aerospace Nimrod MRA4.

Team Cormorant is already under contract to build 15 search and rescue versions of the EH101 for the Canadian Forces. The first is to be handed over in Italy in October next year, and the Cormorant is scheduled to enter service in Canada early in 2001.

Industry sources believe Canada is close to launching the C$2 billion ($1.4 billion) MHP competition. The Government has been provided with a "menu" of procurement options by the Canadian Forces. These include: directed procurement of entire programme from a single prime contractor; directed procurement of the aircraft and a mission system competition, and vice versa; and a contest to select a prime contractor for the overall programme.

Team Cormorant is backing the latter option with its selection of Boeing as mission-system-integrator. None of the other likely bidders has declared its hand yet, although a Team Canada consortium led by Lockheed Martin has been pushing for directed procurement of the entire programme. Other potential bidders are Eurocopter with the Cougar 2 or 3, and Sikorsky with the SH-60 or S-92.

• Three EH Industries Merlin HM1s, operated by the UK Royal Navy, have completed a series of trials at the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Centre in the Bahamas.

The tests formed part of the Operational Performance Acceptance Procedure and concentrated on the Merlin's anti- submarine warfare capabilities.

Source: Flight International