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Wednesday, November 24, 2004

About bloody time

The Canadian Armed Forces received some good news today with the signing of a $5 billion deal that will replace the decrepit Sea King helicopters with 28 new Sikorsky Cyclone helicopters. The new helicopters are pretty spiffy and based on Blawk Hawk technology.

For those of us who have been writing about military affairs for years, it's welcome news. Now four decades old, the Sea Kings require an amazing 30 hours of maintenance for each hour they are airborne. They are a danger to the crews that fly them in wartime because of a lack of effective countermeasures, making them vulnerable to anti-aircraft missiles, and because of their embarrassing tendency to not be able to takeoff -- or in the case of one Sea King last year --  crash on deck of the HMCS Iroquois seconds after managing to do so. As late as March of last year the federal government was claiming that the helicopters were still viable aircraft, a statement which I'm sure made military personnel less than happy.

In fact, the federal government last year dumped another $307 million on the fleet of Sea Kings to keep them flying until 2014. At least some of them will keep flying until that date because the first Cyclones don't start arriving until late 2008 at the rate of one per month.

Now all we have to do is replace the other aging weapons systems which includes the CF-18 fighter, M-113 APC, M-109 SP artillery, small arms, and the Protecteur and Iroquois class ships plus acquire transport craft and supply ships.

But hey, it's a start. It only took a decade and a half to finally start replacing the Sea Kings.

Posted by Steve Martinovich on November 24, 2004 in Military | Permalink


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Replace? You are optomistic, in the case of the -113s and -109s and maybe the Iroquois. Get used to the phrase "withdrawn from service".

Posted by: lrC | 2004-11-24 3:33:48 PM

Why do I fear in 2011 we'll see the newspaper headline "rust damage almost fully repaired: British-bought Canadian sub ready to enter service within 36 months"?

Posted by: Lars Ormberg | 2004-11-25 11:20:01 AM

Don't worry, I don't expect any replacements of anything I mentioned :-)

Posted by: Steven Martinovich | 2004-11-25 1:22:15 PM

So instead of 5 billion for 50 multi role choppers in 1993 we get to pay almost twice as much for 43 less capable choppers 10 years later. (counting the rebadged 101 Cormorants and the penalties)And no industrial offsets.
Is there a single reporter in Canada with the guts to add up what Cretins little election gesture ended up costing us?

Posted by: Jack | 2004-11-25 6:53:05 PM

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