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Mon, Sep 16, 2013

Canadian Government Considers Scrapping Current Sea King Replacement Program

More Than A Billion Dollars Spent And No Aircraft To Show For It

A legal battle may be brewing between the Canadian government and Sikorsky over the replacement to the country's aging Sea King helicopter fleet. Sikorsky is the latest company to work with Canada on a replacement for the 50-year-old helos still in service with their military.

The Canadian newspaper The Globe And Mail reports that sources with inside information about the program say that the Ottawa government is considering scrapping the Cyclone program with Sikorsky, and filing a lawsuit in an effort to get some of its money back. But those same sources say that if that happens, Sikorsky is likely to file a lawsuit of its own against Canada.

Public Works Minister Diane Finley said last week that the government is actively looking for alternatives to the CH-148 Cyclone. Meanwhile, Ottawa has refused delivery of four "interim configured" aircraft, saying they do not met the requirements of the contract. “The government expects suppliers to meet their contractual obligations and Canada will not accept the helicopters until contractual requirements are met,” Public Works spokesman Pierre-Alain Bujold said. “The helicopter is not compliant at this time.”

However, the Public Works office did not specify how the aircraft fell short.

An interim evaluation of the project is being finalized. Excerpts leaked to the CBC last week said that it would appear the Canadian government is being advised to ease its stance on the contract. Sikorsky spokesman Paul Jackson said that the company's "singular focus" is fulfilling the contract, and that there are five more flight-ready Cyclones ready for delivery to Canada in a secure facility in New York.

Canada, meanwhile, has looked at acquiring Merlin helicopters from Britain's Royal Navy, and AgustaWestland has publicly asked the Canadian government to look again at the AW101 helo.

(CH-148 Cyclone pictured in file photo)

FMI: www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/comm/index-eng.html, www.sikorsky.com

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