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Canada upgrades SAR helicopter fleet
Canadian AW-101 Cormorant. © Canada DND

Canada upgrades SAR helicopter fleet

Leonardo and IMP have re-established Team Cormorant to support modernization of and expansion of Canada’s fleet of SAR helicopters.

Leonardo Helicopters and IMP Aerospace & Defence (IMP) report that “Team Cormorant” has been re-established to support the modernization of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) fleet of EH101/CH-149 Cormorant Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopters and expansion of the fleet through the conversion of AW101-519 helicopters. The Cormorant SAR fleet entered service in 2000.

Team Cormorant comprises Leonardo Helicopters, the Original Equipment Manufacturer of the EH101 and AW101 helicopters; IMP, the Prime Contractor for Cormorant In-Service Support; and other key Canadian companies who will supply and support critical aircraft components, technology, systems, simulation and training.

The Cormorant Mid-Life Upgrade (CMLU) and Conversion Program proposed by Team Cormorant covers the current fleet of 14 Cormorant helicopters, as well as additional helicopters obtained by the Government of Canada when it acquired the assets of the U.S. VH-71 presidential helicopter programme.

The CMLU and Conversion Program offers a single, common fleet incorporating the latest avionics and mission systems, advanced radars and sensors, vision enhancement and tracking systems.

Team Cormorant’s CMLU programme is also claimed to offer significant reductions in cost of ownership and to deliver the conversion without reducing current SAR aircraft availability, culminating in the expansion of service from three main SAR bases to four.

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