Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone
The Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone is a twin-engine, multi-role shipboard helicopter developed by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation for the Canadian Armed Forces. A military variant of the Sikorsky S-92, the CH-148 is designed for shipboard operations and is replacing the venerable CH-124 Sea King, which was in operation from 1963 to 2018. The search for a Sea King replacement originally began in the 1980s.
|A CH-148 in Nova Scotia in 2017|
|National origin||United States|
|First flight||15 November 2008|
|Primary user||Royal Canadian Air Force|
|Number built||17 (as of February 2019)|
C$64 million (2004 estimate)
|Developed from||Sikorsky S-92|
The Cyclone is operational with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) as of 2018 and is to conduct anti-submarine warfare (ASW), surveillance, and search and rescue missions from Royal Canadian Navy warships. The helicopter is also to provide tactical transport for operations supporting national and international security efforts. In 2004, Canada awarded Sikorsky Aircraft a contract for 28 CH-148s with deliveries planned to start in 2009. Deliveries were repeatedly delayed due to development problems until the delivery of six initial helicopters in June 2015.
Canada began to seek a replacement for the Sea King maritime helicopter in 1986 when it issued a solicitation for the New Shipborne Aircraft (NSA) Project. A variant of the AgustaWestland EH-101 was selected and a contract was signed by the nation's governing party at the time, the Progressive Conservatives. After a change of government to the Liberal party, the EH-101 contract was cancelled. The cancellation resulted in a lengthy delay to procure a replacement aircraft. The project took on increased importance in the early 2000s and another procurement competition was initiated.
On 23 November 2004, Canada's Department of National Defence announced the award of a C$1.8 billion contract to Sikorsky to produce 28 helicopters, with deliveries scheduled to start in January 2009. In addition, Sikorsky's subcontractors, General Dynamics Canada and L-3 MAS are responsible for in-service maintenance and the Maritime Helicopter Training Centre including two Operational Mission Simulators. Other elements of in-service support include the Integrated Vehicle Health Monitoring System, spares and software support.
Delays and upgradesEdit
In May 2010, Sikorsky announced an engine upgrade for the CH-148 Cyclone by the end of 2012. General Electric is developing a new engine version based on the CT7-8A1. The CT7-8A1 makes the CH-148 Cyclone heavier and less efficient than expected. General Electric is currently developing the CT7-8A7 to be certified by June 2012 and eventually integrated into the Cyclone as soon as possible. General Electric will develop the upgraded engine at its own expense. The new CT7-8A7 engine version will produce 10% additional horsepower. The CT7-8A7 will include modifications to the fuel manifold and nozzles. The interim CH-148s will be provided with CT7-8A1 engines.
Additional complications in the program, and restrictions from US government International Traffic in Arms Regulations have delayed initial aircraft deliveries until 2010. Further delays resulted in expected delivery pushed to 2015. In 2013 Canada rejected the delivery of "interim" helicopters offered by Sikorsky that lacked critical mission systems. In September 2013, the Canadian government announced that they were reevaluating the CH-148 purchase, and would examine cancelling the contract and ordering different helicopters if that were the better option; by this point, Sikorsky had accrued over $88 million in late damages since 2008.
In June 2014, it was announced that the Canadian government had removed the mandatory requirement from Sikorsky to supply the CH-148 with a 30-minute run-dry main gearbox. This was a key safety feature defined as mandatory in the original RFQ and one of 7 concessions made to Sikorsky. The Canadian government states these concessions will not affect the safety of Armed Forces personnel. However, oil loss in the main gearbox followed by several other factors caused the 2009 crash of a S-92, a civil version of the helicopter, off the coast of Newfoundland. Sikorsky has added an oil cooler bypass switch and states a similar accident is extremely unlikely. The effectiveness of the bypass switch has been questioned as it assumes that the leak will happen within the oil cooler assembly, and that the bypass can be activated in time to maintain enough oil. In the case of the S-92 crash, a titanium stud sheared causing catastrophic oil loss through the oil filter assembly.
The CH-148 has a metal and composite airframe. The four-bladed articulated composite main rotor blade is wider and has a longer radius than the S-70 Blackhawk. The tapered blade tip sweeps back and angles downward to reduce noise and increase lift. Tethered hover flight has recorded 138 kN (31,000 lbf) of lift generated, both in and out of ground effect. Unlike the Sea King, but in common with almost all current production naval helicopters, the Cyclone is not amphibious and cannot float on water.
A number of safety features such as flaw tolerance, bird strike capability and engine burst containment have been incorporated into the design. An active vibration system ensures comfortable flight and acoustic levels are well below certification requirements. The Cyclone will feature a modified main gearbox, which has been redesigned since a March 2009 accident.
The CH-148 is equipped with devices to search and locate submarines during ASW, and is equipped with countermeasures to protect itself against missile strikes. The Integrated Mission System is being developed by General Dynamics Canada, as is the Sonobuoy Acoustic Processing System. The radar is a Telephonics APS-143B, the EO System a Flir Systems SAFIRE III, the sonar an L-3 HELRAS, and the ESM a Lockheed Martin AN/ALQ-210. CMC Electronics provides the flight management system, named CMA-2082MH Aircraft Management System.
The Canadian Forces were to take delivery of CH-148s beginning in November 2008. In April 2009 the Government of Canada waived late fees and allowed Sikorsky two additional years to deliver compliant Cyclones. In February 2010, the first CH-148 arrived at CFB Halifax. Shearwater Heliport is the headquarters of 12 Wing, which were operating the CH-124 Sea King. Due to delays and export restrictions, the first 19 of the 28 CH-148 Cyclones were to be delivered in an interim standard which does not meet the original contract requirements. This allows operational testing and training to begin before the end of the year.
In March 2010, the first CH-148 was being installed on board HMCS Montréal for an intensive open seas trials including landing and takeoff. In June 2010, Sikorsky announced the Canadian Forces would receive six interim CH-148 Cyclones in November 2010. In July 2010, Sikorsky reached an agreement on delay payments and deliveries; deliveries of the remaining CH-148s with full capabilities were to begin in June 2012. All interim-standard helicopters were to be retrofitted by December 2013.
On 22 February 2011, the Office of the Prime Minister of Canada announced the proposed arrival of nine Cyclones on Canada's west coast in the spring of 2014. By March 2011 the six interim CH-148s had not been delivered. On 3 March 2011, the federal government announced that it would impose a fine of up to C$8 million on Sikorsky for failure to meet contractual obligations. In January 2012 it was reported Sikorsky would deliver five training CH-148s in 2012, including one "fully mission capable" CH-148 by June 2012, or face a further possible $80 million in contract penalties. On 10 July 2012 in reference to Sikorsky missing another delivery deadline, Defence Minister Peter MacKay called the Cyclone purchase "the worst procurement in the history of Canada".
In December 2012, Louis Chenevert, chairman of Sikorsky's parent corporation United Technologies Corporation, stated that the five CH-148s scheduled for delivery in 2012 would instead be delivered in 2013, along with three additional helicopters. The remaining deliveries are to follow. In October 2013, the project appeared to be on the verge of cancellation with the Canadian government ordering a possible change to the maritime helicopter requirements.
In June 2015, it was reported that Sikorsky was ready to begin deliveries of the first interim Cyclones to the Royal Canadian Air Force. Six helicopters were delivered on 19 June 2015, and two "Block 1.1" Cyclones were delivered in November–December 2015. These eight helicopters will allow for RCAF training on the Cyclone until the fully operational Block 2 Cyclones start to arrive in 2018. A ninth CH-148 was delivered in August 2016. The eleventh helicopter was delivered in March 2017 as deliveries of the weapons system continue. In June 2018, the Cyclone was declared to have reached its "initial operating capability".
In July 2018, the RCAF announced that the Cyclone will participate in a Canadian deployment to Latvia as part of Operation Reassurance, with one helicopter leaving Canada on board HMCS Ville de Québec.
- Crew: 4 (2 pilots, 1 tactical coordinator ACSO, 1 sensor operator AES OP)
- Capacity: 6 in mission config, up to 22 in utility config.
- Length: 68 ft 6 in [S-92 data] (20.9 m)
- Rotor diameter: 58 ft 1 in [S-92 data] (17.7 m)
- Height: 15 ft 5 in [S-92 data] (4.7 m)
- Disc area: 2,650 ft2 [S-92 data] (246 m2)
- Empty weight: 15,600 lb [S-92 data] (7,070 kg)
- Max. takeoff weight: 29,300 lb (13,290 kg)
- Fuselage length: 56 ft 2 in (17.1 m)
- Fuselage width: 17 ft 3 in (5.26 m)
- Powerplant: 2 × General Electric CT7-8A7 turboshaft, 3,000 shp (2,238 kW) each
- Maximum speed: 165 knots (190 mph, 306 km/h)
- Cruise speed: 137 knots (158 mph, 254 km/h)
- Service ceiling: 15,000 ft (4,572 m)
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- AgustaWestland AW101/AgustaWestland CH-149 Cormorant
- Eurocopter AS532 SC Cougar
- Kamov Ka-27
- NHIndustries NH90
- Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King/Sikorsky CH-124 Sea King
- David Pugliese (11 July 2018). "RCAF's Cyclone helicopter to go on first international deployment next week". Ottawa Citizen.
- The Canadian Press (2014-01-05). "Ottawa to press on with troubled Cyclone helicopter purchase". The Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2014-03-14. Retrieved 2014-05-12.
- "Government of Canada proceeds with CH-148 Cyclone Procurement". Canadian American Strategic Review. 2014-01-03. Archived from the original on 2014-01-16. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
- "Background – CF Maritime Helicopter – Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone". Canadian American Strategic Review. Archived from the original on 2014-01-16. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
Finally, in late 2003 there was a call for tenders. A winner was announced in July of 2004. The new Maritime Heli-copter would be Sikorsky's H-92 Superhawk which will be the CH-148 Cyclone in CF service.
- "CH-148 Cyclone" Archived 2010-12-05 at the Wayback Machine. Canada's Air Force, National Defence. Accessed: 30 November 2008.
- Pigott, Peter. "Playing the Waiting Game" Archived 2013-06-29 at Archive.today. Helicopters magazine, 2012. Retrieved: 15 May 2013.
- "Background Information CH-148 Cyclone Helicopter". Department of National Defence. Archived from the original on 5 December 2010. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
- CFPS.dal.ca Archived 2011-07-06 at the Wayback Machine
- "First flight for Canada's Cyclone maritime helicopter". FlightGlobal.com. 18 November 2008. Archived from the original on 6 December 2008. Retrieved 30 November 2008.
- "Sikorsky flies first CH-148 Cyclone" Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine. shephard.co.uk
- "De nouvelles configurations des moteurs pour les hélicoptères maritimes canadiens (French)". TV5. 21 May 2010. Archived from the original on 15 June 2011.
- Tutton, Michael for The Canadian Press (21 May 2010). "Another engine change for Navy choppers". yahoo. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
- "Security Restrictions May Hamper Canadian Purchases". Aviation Today. 27 March 2007. Archived from the original on 9 June 2015.
- National Post, "Replace the Sea Kings. Now" Archived 2013-09-06 at Archive.today, Michael Byers and Stewart Webb, 23 July 2013
- Defense News, "Canada Refuses To Accept Sikorsky Helos", 20 July 2013, David Pugliese
- "Military team sent to evaluate helicopters 'other' than troubled Cyclones" Archived 2013-09-06 at the Wayback Machine. CTV News, 5 September 2013.
- Globe and Mail, "Helicopter purchase’s fate in doubt as Ottawa examines other models" Archived 2013-09-07 at the Wayback Machine, Steve Chase, 5 September 2013.
- "Sea King replacements: $7.6B Cyclone maritime helicopters lack key safety requirement". CBC News, June 23, 2014.
- "TSB Accident Investigation Report A09A0016" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2012-09-23. Retrieved 2015-03-19.
- "Investigator wants tighter helicopter standards" Archived 2016-03-22 at the Wayback Machine. The Globe and Mail, 9 February 2011. Access date: 9 February 2011.
- "Assessment of the Responses to Aviation Safety Recommendation A11-01". Archived from the original on 4 June 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- "Chopper in fatal crash failed safety test" Archived 2016-01-09 at the Wayback Machine. Globe and Mail Nov. 23 2009.
- Warwick, Graham. "Canada Wants Tougher Helicopter Gearbox Rules"[permanent dead link]. Aviation Week, 14 February 2011.
- General Dynamics Canada – CH148 Cyclone – Maritime Helicopter Project – Overview Archived 2007-09-02 at the Wayback Machine, gdcanada.com
- General Dynamics Canada – Sonobuoy Acoustic Processing Systems – Overview Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine, gdcanada.com
- Telephonics: Corporate Info Archived 2017-06-27 at the Wayback Machine, telephonics.com
- FLIR – News Release Archived 2015-11-25 at the Wayback Machine, corporate-ir.net
- HELRAS DS-100 – Helicopter Long-Range Active Sonar Archived 2014-12-22 at the Wayback Machine. L-3mps.com
- Lockheed Martin Awarded $59.4 Million to Provide Electronic Support Measure Systems to Canadian Forces Archived 2008-03-06 at the Wayback Machine. Lockheed Martin.
- CMC Electronics Awarded Contract by Sikorsky Aircraft to Supply Next-Generation Aircraft Management System for Canadian H-92 Maritime Helicopter Project Archived 2011-07-10 at the Wayback Machine. esterline.com
- "Sikorsky's Cyclone Touches Down in Canada". Defense Industry Daily. 8 March 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2010.
- "PHOTOS OF THE CYCLONE HELICOPTER AT SHEARWATER: MORE TESTS EXPECTED NEXT MONTH". Defence Watch. 12 March 2010. Archived from the original on 12 July 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2010.
- "Cyclone testing comes to Halifax". The Chronicle Herald. 11 March 2010. Archived from the original on March 14, 2010. Retrieved 11 March 2010.
- "Sikorsky's CH-148 Cyclone naval helicopter prototype arrives in Canada for trials". Defense Industry Daily. 24 February 2011. Archived from the original on 13 February 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2011.
- "Six choppers to be delivered to navy by summer 2012". thechronicleherald. June 8, 2010. Archived from the original on June 11, 2010.
- Trimble, Stephen. "Sikorsky accepts concessions to Canada after new CH-148 delays" Archived 2010-07-31 at the Wayback Machine. Flight International, 28 July 2010.
- Maritime Helicopter Project (MHP) Schedule[permanent dead link] Materiel Group, Department of National Defence, 16 February 2011.
- New helicopter facility at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt Archived 2011-03-06 at the Wayback Machine
- Daniel Leblan. "Ottawa Seeks Cash for Copter Delays". Globe and Mail, 3 March 2011.
- "Only five 'training' choppers expected this year". thechronicleherald. January 27, 2012. Archived from the original on January 30, 2012.
- "Mackay blames grits for worst procurement in history in chopper deal". thechronicleherald. July 11, 2012. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
- "Delivery of Sea King replacement helicopters delayed once again". theottawacitizen. December 18, 2012. Archived from the original on December 21, 2012.
- Pugliese, David. "Sea King replacement delayed" Archived 2013-10-16 at the Wayback Machine. The Vancouver Sun, 19 December 2012.
- Cudmore, James (15 October 2013). "Sea King replacements could be smaller, cheaper helicopters: Government could be set to follow through on its threat to scrap the $5-billion helicopter contract". CBC News. Toronto. Archived from the original on 2013-10-16.
- Pugliese, David (18 June 2015). "Cyclone helicopter is finally ready for the RCAF….sort of". Ottawa Citizen. Archived from the original on 30 June 2015. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
- "CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopter delivery announced". CBC News. 19 June 2015. Retrieved 2015-06-19.
- Rempel, Roy. "NSPS and the Coming Defence Review", Canadian Defence Review, Volume 22 pp. 97–101.
- Drew, James. "Canada Begins Withdrawing CH-124s As 9th CH-148 Arrives" Archived 2016-08-20 at the Wayback Machine. Aviation Week, 11 August 2016.
- "Maritime Helicopter Project". Defence Canada. 2017-03-09. Retrieved 2017-10-29.
- "Decades-long mission to replace Sea Kings hits another snag". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. 2 July 2012. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 3 September 2017.
- "The Maritime Helicopter Project – PMO MHP". Canadian Forces. 21 July 2009. Archived from the original on 2 September 2009. Retrieved 19 November 2009.
- "Sikorsky CH148 Cyclone Helicopter". www.lockheedmartin.com. Archived from the original on 8 January 2019. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
- Palt, Karsten. "Sikorsky Aircraft S-92 - Specifications - Technical Data / Description". www.flugzeuginfo.net. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone.|