Canada has signed a firm order for seven 5.3t Bell Helicopter 412EPIs to be operated by its coastguard for maritime security and fisheries protection activities.

The C$155 million ($124 million) contract, part of a fleet renewal plan, calls for delivery of the first rotorcraft in June 2016, with an additional helicopter then arriving every three months.

Bell has already won the lighter element of the coastguard’s upgrade initiative, having secured a deal in May 2014 for the supply of 15 Bell 429s. The first of the Canadian-built 3.5t helicopters was delivered in late March.

Denis Lebel, minister of infrastructure, communities and intergovernmental affairs, says: “The Canadian Coast Guard operates in some of the harshest flying conditions on the planet, so the performance capabilities of the aircraft are exactly what they need to support their operations.”

The coastguard will use the new rotorcraft to support the non-military activities of multiple government departments and agencies, including the Department of National Defense, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Environment Canada.