The Conservative government has confirmed to have received first six of total 28 naval helicopters originally ordered more than a decade ago. However, several sources claim that the CH-148 Cyclones, which will cost around $7.6-billion including servicing costs, will not be able to fulfil all expectations set from the choppers and will not be able to fully replace the aged Sea King helicopters until 2018.
While receiving the delivery, Defence Minister Jason Kenney and Public Works Minister Diane Finley posed in front of several Cyclones in Shearwater, N.S., on Friday to celebrate the milestone. In their remarks, the ministers pointed out that this acquisition will allow them to start retiring some Sea Kings immediately. However, it will still take around six years before all 28 new helicopters are delivered. A severe warning published in an internal federal government document dated May, 2015, was played down by the Department of National Defence as it said that the there’s a risk the new Cyclone might not have powerful enough engines “to meet all critical performance requirements” in the line of duty.
However, in response to the document, the department claims that there’s still more work to be done since “in any complex program such as the Cyclone, continued development and improvements such as this are normal.” DND spokesman, Daniel Le Bouthillier, pointed out that “Sikorsky is designing improvements to the engines to increase their power output for a very few circumstances, specifically at high-density altitudes in hot conditions in which the Cyclone could be flown.”
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