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Leonardo welcomes the Canadian government’s intention to proceed with the CH-149 Cormorant Mid-Life Upgrade Program (CMLU), which will be carried out by the company to deliver a comprehensive upgrade to Canada’s AW101 primary search-and-rescue (SAR) helicopter fleet and expand the current fleet of 14 AW101s by up to seven additional AW101s.
Leonardo with IMP Aerospace and Defence and the other members of Team Cormorant – CAE, Rockwell Collins Canada, and GE Canada – comprise a strong Canadian team for the CH-149 CMLU.
The Government of Canada’s CMLU announcement recognizes that the AW101 is the only helicopter to meet Canada’s primary rotary-wing SAR requirements and that it has been an excellent search-and-rescue asset providing outstanding coverage and capability for the men and women of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) SAR squadrons.
Leonardo, together with Team Cormorant, looks forward to continuing working with the Government of Canada to conclude the Options Analysis and finalize the requirements for the CH-149 CMLU and fleet augmentation, simulation and training program.
Based on the AW101-612 standard, Leonardo and Team Cormorant will provide a very low risk solution to upgrade, enhance and address obsolescence, as well augment the fleet to return the Cormorant to all four RCAF Main Operating Bases.
Over the past two years, in-support support from Leonardo, IMP and GE Canada has helped the Government of Canada achieve significant reduction in cost of ownership in the operation of the current Cormorant fleet. The CH-149 CMLU and augmentation will position the rotary-wing SAR fleet for further reductions in cost of ownership over the extended life of the fleet to 2040 and beyond.
Leonardo and Team Cormorant are also committed to working with Canada’s aerospace and defence sector and academia to develop a robust Value Proposition program through Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITBs), delivering high-value direct and indirect benefits to Canada in support of areas of key strategic interest to Canada.
Leonardo has a demonstrated track record of outstanding ITB performance, delivering 121 percent of its obligation on the original AW101 Cormorant acquisition contract two years ahead of schedule. Since then, Leonardo has continued to support Canada’s aerospace and defense sector, procuring more than $1.5 billion in Canadian goods and services for its civil and military helicopter programs around the world.
Leonardo will showcase the proposed CMLU solutions based on the AW101-612 at CANSEC, May 30 and 31, at booth 1511.
Since its introduction into service in 2002, the CH-149 Cormorant has successfully carried out a number of SAR missions in Canada with unparalleled performance in all weather conditions.
The AW101 SAR is not only used by Canada but also by various nations also including Denmark, Portugal and Norway. The AW101 is also used for personnel recovery in Italy and for military duties in the U.K. and many other countries around the world.
The AW101 benefits from three-engine safety, a full ice protection system for flight in known icing conditions, long range and endurance, a proven 30-minute “run dry” gearbox as well as multiple redundancy features in avionic and mission systems.
The AW101-612 variant is the latest version of the AW101 for SAR and was selected by Norway following a comprehensive, detailed evaluation process of all the alternatives.
The AW101-612 standard includes advanced SAR mission equipment including a Leonardo Osprey multi-panel 360-degree AESA surveillance radar system, 4-axis digital Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS), two rescue hoists, searchlight, a cellphone detection system, electro optical/infrared device and a fully integrated avionics and mission system.
The large cabin doors and rear ramp provide easy access for personnel, survivors and equipment into the 27-cubic-meter cabin which has stand-up head room throughout.