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CYCLONE TO BRING WORLD LEADING NAVAL AVIATION CAPABILITY TO CANADA

CYCLONE TO BRING WORLD LEADING NAVAL AVIATION CAPABILITY TO CANADA

As we write this, the CDR team has just returned from the Paris Air Show where we saw Canadian companies like Bell Helicopter, CAE, Bombardier, Pratt & Whitney Canada and others showcase their technology at the world’s biggest aviation event. By the way, look for a full report from Paris where we detail Canada’s involvement in that show, in CDR’s next edition.

Observing all that impressive hardware in Paris reminded us that Canada is still one of the world’s leading aerospace countries (currently ranked # 5) but to stay competitive in the aerospace field requires innovation and that means investing in R & D.

One of the ways Canada can assist its aerospace companies is by having its military work in partnership with industry and one of the things that impressed us in our conversation with the Commander of the Air Force, LGen Mike Hood, in this issue, is that he is ready and eager to support Canadian industry wherever possible.

In a very wide-ranging interview, LGen Hood told CDR, “Wherever Canadian industry can innovate, and compete, I’d be a strong supporter of us procuring Canadian-made equipment for the Air Force. . . . I think we can work a lot closer with Canadian industry to make sure that we’re continuing to be a strong supporter of the Canadian aerospace environment.”

And, this is precisely the kind of thinking we need from our leaders in military and government because it’s a very competitive environment out there in the world of aerospace and defence.

But, as well, in that same interview Hood offered a comment on Canada’s newest helicopter, the CH-148 Cyclone that he says, “. . . will deliver a world leading maritime helicopter capability that is going to provide the navy and the armed forces with incredible air power support.”

While the history Cyclone’s development has been troubled and not the best example of how to do procurement, the fact is that with this brand new helicopter now set to become operational, Canada again has played an integral role in developing new aerospace technology and now, under the new leadership of Lockheed Martin, this Sikorsky helicopter is set to offer Canada critical sub hunting, SAR and naval aviation capability for decades to come.

DEVELOPMENT OF CH-148 CYCLONE WAS A TRUE CANADIAN EFFORT

As you will learn from our Cover Story on the CH-148 Cyclone in this issue, Canada, in partnership with Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky Helicopters and General Dynamics Mission Systems Canada, has taken a commercial helicopter and transformed it into a state-of-the-art naval helicopter. And, this was no mean feat, as evidenced by all the delays, restarts and years of work that went into this.

Right now, Canada will be the first and only country in the world to operate this helicopter but the hope is that Lockheed Martin will be able to use its international marketing clout to sell this new maritime helicopter to other nations around the world and when that happens, Canada may benefit from all the extra years of work that went into the MHP program.

For our Cover Story on Cyclone, CDR’s Senior Staff Writer and Aviation Editor, Joetey Attariwala, called on knowledge gleaned from visits to the Sikorsky campus in West Palm Beach, Florida, visits to CFB Shearwater in Nova Scotia, interviews with CH-148 pilots, Sikorsky’s Cyclone program manager, Lockheed Martin executives and many others.

What it all adds up to is the most comprehensive, most informative report on this helicopter you will find anywhere, and while we used some excellent photography to illustrate this story, it was not just about the pretty pictures, there is real meat on the bone here, so if you actually want to learn about the history of the program and all the capabilities this new helicopter will bring, we urge you to read our Cover Story in this issue.

BOEING NOT THE CORPORATE CITIZEN THEY SAY THEY ARE

When Boeing targeted Canada’s Bombardier recently we were impressed by Minister Sajjan’s response where he questioned the trustworthiness of that company as a partner going forward and that prompted us to take a close look at Boeing and its record of investing in Canada’s aerospace industry over the years.

We came to the conclusion that, considering Canada has given this company billions of dollars’ worth of defence contracts (CF-18, C-17, Chinook helicopter et al), not to mention all the money Canadian airlines have spent buying Boeing airliners, this company has done relatively little to invest in Canada’s aerospace industry.

For much more on that topic, please read our commentary piece in this issue or look for it on twitter.

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