Canada to boost SAR capacity with Cormorant upgrades, flight simulator
By Avert staff
The federal government is shelling out $1.24 billion in contracts to upgrade the CH-149 Cormorant fleet and to purchase a flight simulator.
The contracts will see the fleet increase to 16 aircraft from the current 13, and will upgrade all 16 to the most advanced version of the helicopter, the Department of National Defence said in a news release.
Canada’s Cormorant fleet has been used by the Canadian Armed Forces in search and rescue (SAR) operations since 2001. Aircrews currently travel to the UK to train on simulators.
Montreal-based CAE Inc. and UK-based Leonardo U.K. Ltd were awarded contracts for the upgrades – $1.168 billion – and the domestic simulator – $78 million.
Defence Minister Anita Anand said in the release the Cormorant helicopter is a critical asset for SAF in Canada.
“… these contracts provide the best solution for Canada to upgrade its fleet and provide the accompanying training tools to our aviators so that they can continue to keep Canadians safe – now, and in the years to come,” Anand said.
CH-149 Cormorant aircraft are currently based at 19 Wing Comox in B.C., 9 Wing Gander in Newfoundland, and 14 Wing Greenwood in Nova Scotia. With the new aircraft, 8 Wing Trenton in Ontario will be added as a base.
Upgrades and training systems deliveries are expected to begin in 2026, and to be fully operational in 2029.
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