Canadian Manufacturing

Canadian military repairing cracks in their CH-148 Cyclone helicopters

The Air Force said the Sikorsky-made aircraft have not been grounded or placed on an operational pause.

December 6, 2021  The Canadian Press

The Canadian military has discovered cracks in the tails of 19 of its 23 Cyclone helicopters.

The Royal Canadian Air Force issued an emailed statement on Dec. 5 saying cracks had been detected in four helicopters, but that number jumped to 19 later in the day.

The Air Force said the Sikorsky-made aircraft have not been grounded or placed on an operational pause. Engineering experts from the military are working with the company to repair the aircraft, the military said.

“Sikorsky has a plan to address the cracking, with each aircraft requiring a unique approach to repair the affected components,” a spokesperson said on Dec. 5 in an email.

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“The Royal Canadian Air Force expects that the first few aircraft affected by this issue will be repaired within the next few days.”

The office of Defence Minister Anita Anand wouldn’t comment on the issue and forwarded queries to the military.

Tail cracks were first detected in one of the maritime helicopters during a routine inspection on Nov. 26 at 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron, based in Patricia Bay, B.C.

The entire fleet is overseen by 12 Wing Shearwater, the Air Force base in the Halifax area that is home to 423 Maritime Helicopter Squadron, which also flies the CH-148 Cyclone.

The military also confirmed on Dec. 5 that two Cyclones did not appear to have any tail defects, and the remaining two in the fleet were receiving longer-term maintenance and will be inspected at a later date.

Defence procurement documents released earlier this year show the $3.1-billion project is “facing financial challenges, increased procurement costs and some financial adjustments,” and that officials plan to ask the government for more money to finish it.