Canada has contracted CAE and Leonardo UK to provide mid-life upgrades for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s CH-149 Cormorant helicopter fleet.

The upgrades will maintain the operability of the choppers — in service since 2001 — to support the country’s search and rescue operations.

“…these contracts provide the best solution for Canada to upgrade its fleet and provide the accompanying training tools to our aviators so that they can continue to keep Canadians safe – now, and in the years to come,” Canadian Defence Minister Anita Anand said.

Upgrade to AW101-612

Under the $1.17 billion contract, the CH-149 fleet will be transformed into AW101-612 variants to support the country’s national 24/7 search and rescue service.

Leonardo AW101 multirole helicopter. Image: Leonardo

Leonardo will also provide additional parts and airframes to increase the fleet size from 13 to 16 helicopters.

Some of the equipment for this expansion will be leveraged from the inventory of existing VH-71 Kestrels and CH-149s to reduce costs, including landing gear, transmissions, and control platforms.

Ease in Training

A separate $78 million will be invested to update the Cormorant simulator to the AW101 612 configuration.

This separate contract will enable pilots to train with the future fleet domestically instead of traveling to the UK.

“I am pleased that today’s contract award announcement to CAE Inc. and Leonardo UK Ltd will enable our government to continue to provide the Royal Canadian Air Force and its members with the advanced equipment they need to do their job, at the best value for Canadians,” Canadian Public Services and Procurement Minister Helena Jaczek stated.

See also  US Intercepts Russian Aircraft Near Alaska for Second Time This Week

More Jobs

Alongside meeting the requirements of the Canadian Armed Forces, the contracts are expected to provide long-term benefits for Canada’s economy.

“This procurement will advance Canadian innovation in our world-class defence and aerospace industries while creating jobs and contributing to economic growth in Canada,” Canadian Innovation, Science, and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne said.