Canada — Maritime Helicopter Project

The Mar­itime Heli­copter (MH) project is a com­plex pro­gram that involves the deliv­ery of 28 state-of-the-art, com­bat-capa­ble CH-148 Cyclone heli­copters, asso­ci­at­ed logis­ti­cal and in-ser­vice sup­port, spare parts, as well as mod­i­fi­ca­tions to the Hal­i­fax-class ships and con­struc­tion of a new train­ing facil­i­ty equipped with a full train­ing suite of flight, mis­sion and main­te­nance sim­u­la­tors.

The new CH-148 Cyclone, in its final con­fig­u­ra­tion, will be at the fore­front of mod­ern tech­nol­o­gy and one of the most capa­ble mar­itime heli­copters in the world. Progress con­tin­ues to be made on deliv­ery of the com­plex and sophis­ti­cat­ed weapon sys­tem, and project mile­stones con­tin­ue to be achieved as the Gov­ern­ment, the Cana­di­an Forces and the con­trac­tor col­lec­tive­ly work towards deliv­er­ing ful­ly com­pli­ant heli­copters start­ing in June 2012.

In ear­ly 2010, the first round of Ship/Helicopter Oper­at­ing Lim­i­ta­tions (SHOL) tri­als suc­cess­ful­ly test­ed and val­i­dat­ed the design of the ship mod­i­fi­ca­tions of the hangar and flight deck for Cyclone com­pat­i­bil­i­ty and ensured they met the tech­ni­cal require­ments spec­i­fied in the con­tract. The SHOL tri­als also test­ed and val­i­dat­ed the Cana­di­an Recov­ery Assist Secur­ing and Tra­vers­ing (C‑RAST) sys­tem, main­te­nance sup­port, and defined safe flight para­me­ters for future ship/helicopter oper­a­tions in mod­er­ate sea states and weath­er con­di­tions. This ini­tial round of SHOL tri­al activ­i­ty also devel­oped stan­dard oper­at­ing pro­ce­dures for ship and flight crew per­son­nel. Sub­se­quent SHOL tri­als will be con­duct­ed in extreme weath­er con­di­tions.

Cur­rent Sta­tus

Mis­sion soft­ware devel­op­ment is one of the most chal­leng­ing aspects of the Cyclone pro­gram, due to its scope, com­plex­i­ty and impor­tance to the oper­a­tional roles of the heli­copter. In the fall of 2009, Siko­rsky advised the Gov­ern­ment of poten­tial dif­fi­cul­ties deliv­er­ing an inter­im heli­copter with ful­ly com­pli­ant mis­sion sys­tem soft­ware by Novem­ber 2010.

Since then, the Gov­ern­ment and Siko­rsky have worked togeth­er to find the best solu­tion that would mit­i­gate the impact on the Cana­di­an Forces due to a delay on the deliv­ery of the mis­sion sys­tem soft­ware. A pro­pos­al to deliv­er an inter­im heli­copter equipped with a pre­lim­i­nary ver­sion of the mis­sion soft­ware sys­tem was put for­ward, and sub­se­quent­ly deter­mined to be the best pos­si­ble solu­tion; the inter­im heli­copter will still have all the oper­a­tional capa­bil­i­ty nec­es­sary to achieve tar­get­ed progress for the Mar­itime Heli­copter project. How­ev­er, since the func­tion­al­i­ty of mis­sion sys­tem soft­ware con­tained with­in the inter­im heli­copters does not meet the require­ments of the con­tract as writ­ten, the con­tract must be amend­ed for the Gov­ern­ment to take deliv­ery of a rede­fined inter­im heli­copter. Ulti­mate deliv­ery of the ful­ly com­pli­ant heli­copters is not affect­ed by the con­tract amend­ment and is on sched­ule for 2012 deliv­ery.

Terms of the Con­tract Amend­ment

By sign­ing the June 30, 2010 con­tract amend­ment, both the Gov­ern­ment and Siko­rsky agreed that Cana­da would take deliv­ery of six inter­im heli­copters with a pre­lim­i­nary ver­sion of the mis­sion soft­ware start­ing in Novem­ber 2010, there­by allow­ing the DND/CF to pro­ceed with oper­a­tional test­ing and train­ing activ­i­ties. It is impor­tant to note that DND’s train­ing time­line will not be delayed by this. How­ev­er, in return for Canada’s agree­ment on this point, the fol­low­ing con­ces­sions were made by Siko­rs­ki:

  • With­draw­al of an exist­ing Siko­rsky arbi­tra­tion claim;
  • Invest­ment by Siko­rsky in addi­tion­al Indus­tri­al and Region­al Ben­e­fits of $80 mil­lion;
  • Ben­e­fits on future mar­itime heli­copter sales payable to Cana­da that could amount to more than US$30 mil­lion;
  • Restruc­tur­ing the estab­lished mile­stone pay­ment sched­ule and liq­ui­dat­ed dam­ages clause. Liq­ui­dat­ed dam­ages, if applic­a­ble, will be applied for fail­ure to deliv­er inter­im heli­copters start­ing in Novem­ber 2010, and for fail­ure to deliv­er the ful­ly com­pli­ant heli­copters begin­ning in June 2012;
  • Reduced inter­im heli­copter in-ser­vice sup­port rates until accep­tance of the ful­ly com­pli­ant heli­copters in June 2012; and,
  • Extend­ing the in-ser­vice sup­port until March 2028.

These con­ces­sions result in a sig­nif­i­cant net ben­e­fit to Cana­da.

Defin­ing the Inter­im Heli­copters

The inter­im heli­copters will have par­tial mis­sion capa­bil­i­ties. The inter­im heli­copters will be fit­ted with all spec­i­fied flight equip­ment and hard­ware and will include a pre­lim­i­nary ver­sion of the mis­sion sys­tem soft­ware that will allow the major­i­ty of the sen­sors and weapon sys­tems to be oper­at­ed but not in a ful­ly inte­grat­ed fash­ion.

As defined in the amend­ed con­tract, the inter­im heli­copters will not have their final capa­bil­i­ty in only four areas:

  • Mes­sag­ing func­tion­al­i­ty of tac­ti­cal data exchange capa­bil­i­ty (an auto­mat­ed data-link capa­bil­i­ty that pro­vides for the exchange of tac­ti­cal data between des­ig­nat­ed units, includ­ing the ships and air­craft);
  • Mis­sion flight endurance (21 minute defi­cien­cy);
  • Sin­gle engine oper­a­tion at high tem­per­a­ture; and
  • The mis­sion sys­tem soft­ware will be a pre­lim­i­nary ver­sion.

No oper­a­tional or air­wor­thi­ness require­ments will be com­pro­mised with this approach. It is for this rea­son that DND’s train­ing time­lines will be unaf­fect­ed.

Once deliv­ery of the ful­ly com­pli­ant heli­copters begins in 2012, the inter­im heli­copters will be retro­fit­ted to be ful­ly com­pli­ant and returned to DND/CF by Decem­ber 2013. This will pro­vide the Cana­di­an Forces with a total fleet of 28 CH-148 ful­ly com­pli­ant heli­copters in accor­dance with all con­trac­tu­al spec­i­fi­ca­tions.

Role of the Inter­im Heli­copters

The six inter­im heli­copters will mit­i­gate, as much as pos­si­ble, the impact of the delay by ensur­ing that train­ing and ini­tial oper­a­tional test­ing and eval­u­a­tion can begin as soon as pos­si­ble. Oper­a­tional test­ing of the inter­im heli­copters, with a pre­lim­i­nary ver­sion of the mis­sion sys­tem soft­ware, will pro­vide an excel­lent oppor­tu­ni­ty to eval­u­ate the basic heli­copter, the effec­tive­ness of the in-ser­vice sup­port, and train­ing ser­vices.

The inter­im heli­copters will not be deployed on oper­a­tions. The inter­im heli­copters will be used for ini­tial cadre train­ing, which pro­vides train­ing to suf­fi­cient air­crew and main­te­nance per­son­nel to enable DND/CF to con­duct the ini­tial oper­a­tional test­ing and eval­u­a­tion (IOT&E). IOT&E is an essen­tial peri­od of test­ing to deter­mine the most oper­a­tional­ly effec­tive employ­ment of new equip­ment before field­ing the sys­tem.

Dur­ing IOT&E mul­ti­ple air­craft sys­tems can be assessed on their indi­vid­ual per­for­mance and the DND/CF can deter­mine how to best inte­grate their capa­bil­i­ties into the over­all weapon sys­tem for fly­ing, fight­ing and sup­port­ing Cyclone oper­a­tions. Fur­ther­more, devel­op­men­tal pro­ce­dures for the Cyclone’s flight and oper­a­tions can be ver­i­fied and sub­se­quent­ly mod­i­fied if nec­es­sary ear­ly on in the tran­si­tion pro­gram, enabling a smoother tran­si­tion to the ful­ly com­pli­ant heli­copters.

The Cyclone rep­re­sents a tremen­dous advance­ment in heli­copter and mis­sion sys­tem tech­nol­o­gy com­pared to the Sea King. Advanced expo­sure of these new capa­bil­i­ties will help make the tran­si­tion to the new air­craft more effec­tive and effi­cient when the ful­ly com­pli­ant heli­copters become avail­able. By gain­ing ear­ly access to the Cyclone through the inter­im heli­copters and asso­ci­at­ed sup­port equip­ment and train­ing devices, the Sea King com­mu­ni­ty can begin a real­is­tic, hands-on approach to tran­si­tion­ing to the high­ly sophis­ti­cat­ed and more com­plex Cyclone heli­copter and inte­grat­ed sup­port sys­tem.

Tak­ing deliv­ery of the inter­im heli­copters will also ensure that cru­cial sup­port mech­a­nisms are put into place, such as sup­ply chains for spare parts and main­te­nance process­es and pro­ce­dures. All the sup­port infra­struc­ture and main­te­nance process­es need to be in place before the CH-148 Cyclone can be deployed on oper­a­tions. By begin­ning this effort in Novem­ber 2010 in advance of the deliv­ery of ful­ly com­pli­ant heli­copters, it will allow the ful­ly com­pli­ant heli­copters to be deployed on oper­a­tions soon­er than if inter­im heli­copters were not avail­able.

The Sea King will con­tin­ue to fly safe and pro­duc­tive Cana­di­an Forces mis­sions in its valu­able mar­itime heli­copter role until the ful­ly com­pli­ant Cyclone heli­copters are ready to be deployed.

Next Steps

DND/CF is cur­rent­ly prepar­ing for the deliv­ery of the inter­im heli­copter. This exten­sive prepa­ra­tion effort includes secur­ing the appro­pri­ate cer­ti­fi­ca­tion doc­u­men­ta­tion; ensur­ing the train­ing devices are func­tion­al and avail­able; final­iz­ing course­ware and air­craft oper­at­ing instruc­tions and check­lists for the ini­tial train­ing cadre; and ensur­ing the main­te­nance pro­gram is ready for train­ing and fol­low-on flight oper­a­tions. Ini­tial train­ing cadre involves the train­ing of des­ig­nat­ed main­te­nance and air­crew per­son­nel from 12 Wing Shear­wa­ter who will con­duct the ini­tial oper­a­tional test­ing and eval­u­a­tion of the inter­im heli­copters and pro­vide main­te­nance sup­port.

DND/CF is also prepar­ing to con­duct the sec­ond round of SHOL tri­als in the com­ing months; the exact tim­ing will be deter­mined based on air­craft avail­abil­i­ty and pro­gram pri­or­i­ties. This por­tion of the tri­als will deter­mine the full spec­trum of flight para­me­ters that will allow the heli­copter to safe­ly oper­ate from the Hal­i­fax class ship in high winds, inclement weath­er and rough sea con­di­tions.

Mar­itime Heli­copter Project Back­ground

In Novem­ber 2004, the Gov­ern­ment of Cana­da announced the sign­ing of two sep­a­rate but inter­re­lat­ed con­tracts with Siko­rsky Inter­na­tion­al Oper­a­tions Inc. for the Mar­itime Heli­copter project. The first con­tract, worth $1.8 bil­lion, was for 28 ful­ly inte­grat­ed, cer­ti­fied and qual­i­fied heli­copters with their mis­sion sys­tems installed, to replace the Cana­di­an Forces CH-124 Sea King heli­copter fleet. The sec­ond con­tract, val­ued at $3.2 bil­lion, was for 20-years of in-ser­vice sup­port for the heli­copters, and includ­ed the con­struc­tion of a train­ing facil­i­ty, as well as a sim­u­la­tor and train­ing suite.

Deliv­ery of the first heli­copter was expect­ed in ear­ly 2009; how­ev­er in Jan­u­ary 2008, Siko­rsky for­mal­ly claimed for sched­ule relief because of “excus­able delays” there­by advis­ing the gov­ern­ment of a delay in the planned deliv­ery date. PWGSC, along with DND, worked toward res­o­lu­tion with Siko­rsky and, in Decem­ber 2008, the con­tract was amend­ed to reflect a new, tiered sched­ule with deliv­ery of inter­im heli­copters begin­ning in Novem­ber 2010 and deliv­ery of ful­ly com­pli­ant heli­copters begin­ning in June 2012.

The new CH-148 Cyclone, in its final con­fig­u­ra­tion, will meet all of the per­for­mance require­ments spec­i­fied by the Cana­di­an Forces and will be one of the most capa­ble mar­itime heli­copters in the world.

Source:
Depart­ment of Nation­al Defence, Kana­da

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →