Sea King helicopter replacement hits a new snag
Ottawa hires consultant to study if Sikorsky can deliver promised helicopters
By James Cudmore, CBC News Posted: Jun 25, 2013 8:25 PM ET
The decades-long project to replace Canada's 50-year-old 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.
CBC News has learned that 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.
The details of the hire — or the review — are not publicly available and Ambrose's office has yet to provide more information, but Ambrose herself offered the news after questions from the CBC about Sikorsky and its contract.
"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.
For years, the program lay dormant as Canada's Sea King helicopters slowly gathered wear and tear.
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.
More at the link.
Could be a prelude to more fines or even contract cancellation (or both).