Darren Fisher, member of Parliament for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, was on hand at the Canadian Coast Guard hanger at 12 Wing Shearwater in Dartmouth Nova Scotia to inspect the Coast Guard’s newest helicopter, the Bell light-lift 429. The helicopter is used to support Coast Guard operations in the Maritimes. Fisheries and Oceans Canada Photo
The honorable Hunter Tootoo, minister of fisheries, oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the honorable Judy M. Foote, minister of public services and procurement, and Jody Thomas, commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, have accepted the last new light-lift helicopter into the Canadian Coast Guard fleet.
“These made-in-Canada light-lift helicopters are faster, safer, more reliable and more efficient than the models they are replacing,” said Tootoo. “By renewing the fleet of helicopters, our government is providing the women and men of the Coast Guard with the modern equipment they need to better serve Canadians.”
After being awarded a contract in May 2014, Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Ltd, based in Mirabel, Que., completed the delivery of 15 light-lift helicopters to the Canadian Coast Guard in less than two years. This impressive milestone was achieved ahead of schedule and on budget.
“This project is a good example of how government procurement can move quickly to meet pressing needs,” said Foote. “With more coastline than any country in the world, Canada requires a well-equipped Coast Guard and these helicopters will ensure that missions can be completed wherever and whenever demands arise. Investments like this also keep skilled Canadians employed and help communities prosper.”
Twelve of the new helicopters are already in service across the country, including Shearwater, Nova Scotia, carrying out Canadian Coast Guard missions. A second machine will be delivered to Shearwater later this month.
The remaining three aircraft are supporting pilot training but they too will be deployed to their operational bases shortly.
The new, state-of-the-art helicopters are faster, can fly farther and carry greater payload than the aircraft they are replacing. In addition, they provide a range of safety enhancements over the existing aircraft.
The Canadian Coast Guard’s helicopter fleet supports several programs that contribute to the safety, national security and sovereignty of Canada. Helicopter missions include everything from flying to remote sites in Canada to supporting construction and maintenance of CCG communication sites, oil pollution response, ice monitoring and support to DFO Science programs.
“Helicopter support is a crucial component for delivering Canadian Coast Guard services and maintaining public safety,” said Thomas. “These helicopters, and the brave women and men who operate and maintain them, will further enhance the safe navigation of vessels and mariners in Canadian waters.”
The Government of Canada has also awarded a contract to Bell Helicopter for seven medium-lift helicopters, with delivery starting in 2017.