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03:45 PM, May 29, 2018
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Leonardo to Upgrade Canada’s CH-149 Helicopter Fleet
Canadian CH-149 Cormorant helicopter (Image: US DoD)

Leonardo has won a contract to upgrade Canadian fleet of 14 CH-149 Cormorant helicopters.

The Cormorant helicopter is based on AW101. The contract is estimated to be worth approximately between $384 million (CAD500 million) to $1.15 billion (CAD1.5 billion), Forecast International reported Monday.

Canada is also considering whether to expand the search-and-rescue fleet, which could be done by leasing or buying AW101s, or upgrading VH-71 helicopters that Canada purchased from the United States after Washington cancelled its original presidential helicopter program. Canada purchased the nine VH-71s, which are similar to the Cormorant, for spare parts. Seven of the VH-71s are still airworthy, the report stated.

Sikorsky had been lobbying Canada to buy S-92 helicopters for search-and-rescue operations. The Canadian Air Force is fielding a variant of the S-92, the CH-148 Cyclone. 

The CH-149 upgrade is expected to include improved avionics, radars, sensors, and vision and tracking systems. 

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