Leonardo Helicopters and IMP Aerospace & Defence (IMP) announced 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.
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 will create a fleet of the worlds most advanced and capable Search and Rescue helicopters available today, to meet the RCAF’s “no fail” Search and Rescue mandate for the next 25 years.
It combines the current fleet of 14 Cormorant helicopters with additional helicopters obtained by the Government of Canada when it acquired the assets of the U.S. VH-71 presidential helicopter program, currently in storage at IMP Aerospace in Halifax. The CMLU and Conversion Program offers a single, common fleet incorporating the latest avionic and mission systems, advanced radars and sensors, vision enhancement and tracking systems.
The Canadian Government recently cited the Cormorant Mid-Life Upgrade (CMLU) program and the critical importance of the Cormorant in providing a vital SAR service that Canadians rely on. The CMLU will provide capability improvements to enhance its overall mission effectiveness and return the primary Rotary Wing Search and Rescue (RWSAR) helicopter to CFB Trenton, covering the Great Lakes region up to the High Arctic.
Team Cormorant’s CMLU program also offers significant reductions in the cost of ownership and will deliver the conversion without reducing the current Search and Rescue aircraft availability, culminating in the expansion of service from three main SAR bases to four.
“Through Team Cormorant, Leonardo Helicopters will be able to deliver significant industrial technology benefits and a value proposition that will transfer new skills and knowledge to Canada, creating and sustaining more than 360 high-skilled jobs across the country,” said John Ponsonby, Leonardo Helicopters UK Managing Director. “The Cormorant CMLU will deliver Canada the most advanced and capable, state-of-the-art Search and Rescue helicopter available anywhere in the world today or the foreseeable future and the best value for Canada.”
“IMP Aerospace & Defence has provided full turn-key In Service Support to the CH-149 Cormorant Search and Rescue fleet since its entry into service in the year 2000. The CH-149 fleet is actively operated by the RCAF across Canada delivering essential life-saving missions to Canadians in distress. The fleet has clocked more flight hours than any other AW101 fleet in the world and now requires an upgrade to ensure continued cost effective service into the future.” said David Gossen, President of IMP Aerospace & Defence. “Canada has an amazing opportunity to further enhance SAR delivery to central and northern Canada and beyond through the conversion of VH-71 aircraft.”