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Sea Kings make way for Cyclones

12 Wing Shearwater is getting all six of the test Cyclone helicopters when they arrive.

12 Wing Shearwater is getting all six of the test Cyclone helicopters when they arrive.

Sikorsky will provide six Interim Maritime Helicopters for testing before the final products roll in by June 2012. Cyclones will replace the aging Sea Kings, purchased by the Canadian government close to five decades ago in 1963.

“They will be used strictly to conduct some initial training and test and evaluation,” according to an email from the Department of National Defence (DND).

The distribution of Cyclones will be more fluid once the final versions phase in and replace the Sea Kings.

“The distribution of the Cyclone helicopter will be dictated by operational requirement, which is the case with the Sea King,” according to DND. Barring any other contract delays, once the first final-version Cyclone arrives in June 2012, the next will come in at one a month.

Originally the first Cyclone was due early 2009, but in 2008 and in 2009 Sikorsky claimed schedule relief for “excusable delays.” Then in late November just weeks before the first test Cyclones were expected, Sikorsky gave notice of another delay.

Sikorsky’s claims of excusable delays will be examined, said a spokes­person for Public Works and Government Services Canada.

“If rejected, we will apply the most severe penalties possible. When the government signs a contract, the contractor is expected to deliver on time and this case is no different,” said a Public Works spokesperson in a email.

It took about a month for Public Works and DND to return inquiries from Metro.

 
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