Canada's project to replace the Sea King helicopters has hit another snag, with the government now hiring an independent expert to study whether helicopter-maker Sikorsky is even capable of delivering a replacement as promised, according to reports.
CBC News reported that the Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose has gone outside government and hired a consultant to study Sikorsky's work, and Canada's contract, to determine whether it's even possible for the U.S. helicopter giant to deliver the aircraft Canada ordered.
"I have employed the services of an independent consultant and contractor to undertake a review of the ability of this company to deliver this to the government," Ambrose said.
The Defence Department's maritime helicopter project is the successor to the failed procurement of 50 EH-101 helicopters promised in 1992 by former prime minister Brian Mulroney. That program was cancelled in 1993 as part of an election promise made by Jean Chrétien, the report said.
In 2004, Sikorsky won a formal contract to provide 28 new CH-148 Cyclone helicopters to Canada.
The initial contract was worth $1.8 billion for aircraft, and an additional $3.2 billion for 20 years of maintenance and support, it concluded.