On static display at Le Bourget, one of Canada's incoming fleet of Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopters is making the type's debut public appearance a long way from its future home.

To replace the Canadian armed forces' almost 50-year-old Sikorsky H-3 Sea Kings in providing an anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capability, and in delivering search and rescue and utility transport tasks, the new type is derived from the airframer's S-92.

Changes embodied for the maritime variant include the integration of marinised General Electric CT7-8 engines, a 360° maritime search radar, passive and active acoustics, a forward-looking infrared sensor and self-defence equipment. Shipborne operations will be supported by the use of a deck haul-down and handling system, and by an automatic blade and tail-fold function.

Ottawa will eventually receive 28 of the new aircraft via a delayed procurement. The first of these arrived at its Shearwater air base in Nova Scotia on 13 May, and should be accepted for use within the next several months in an initial operating capability standard. The first Canadian technicians are now receiving ground-based instruction at the site, while aircrews will enter flight training soon.

Sikorsky said recent sea trials involving the type verified "that flight and deck operations can be executed through a growing envelope", and demonstrated "an ease of maintenance on board".

"We believe the Cyclone helicopter represents the 'aircraft of the future' for maritime forces around the globe," said Carey Bond, president of Sikorsky Global Helicopters. One of the company's current sales targets for the type is a requirement to replace the German navy's 20-strong Sea King fleet.

Canada's current active fleet of around 26 Sea Kings were delivered between 1963 and 1968, as listed in Flightglobal's HeliCAS database.

Source: Flight Daily News