Welcome To
Acadia Broadcasting NewsThe Latest and Greatest ContentYour Trusted Local Source


Over $1.1 billion for upgrades to Canada’s search and rescue helicopters

By Caitlin Snow Apr 27, 2023 | 12:13 PM

Tony Hisgett / CC

Today, National Defence Minister Anita Anand visited IMP Aerospace in Enfield, Nova Scotia.

She was joined by representatives from Leonardo U.K. Ltd., IMP Aerospace, and other partners, who announced that IMP Aerospace has received a major sub-contract for the Cormorant Mid-Life Upgrade (CMLU) Project.

It will upgrade Canada’s CH-149 Cormorant fleet used for search and rescue operations. It has been providing services to Canada since 2001 but needed upgrades.

Thanks to a $1.168 billion contract awarded in December 2022 to Leonardo U.K. Ltd, Canada is upgrading its current Cormorant helicopter fleet to the most advanced version of the helicopter.

It will acquire additional airframes/parts to increase our fleet size from 13 to 16 aircraft.

The first three helicopters will be completed in the U.K. with Leonardo U.K. Ltd, the other thirteen will be worked on in Halifax, N.S.

Minister Anand noted that the CMLU project has the potential to contribute almost $79 million annually to Canadian GDP and 650 jobs annually for Canadian companies over a 12-year period. Demonstrating that national security and economic prosperity go hand-in-hand.

“Through our upgrades to Canada’s Cormorant helicopter fleet, we are investing to keep Canadians safe and supporting good, middle-class jobs here in Canada. The CH-149 Cormorant helicopter is a critical asset for search and rescue operations in Canada. Upgrading our helicopters will ensure our continued search and rescue capacity going forward, all while supporting jobs for Canadians, and adding millions of dollars in economic activity.”

The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence

“The Cormorant Mid-Life Upgrade project is great news for Nova Scotia. These helicopter upgrades will help ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces have the tools that they need for search and rescue missions, all while creating significant economic opportunities here in our province. I’m especially thrilled that these upgrades will ensure the CAF’s continued search and rescue capabilities at 14 Wing Greenwood, in our beautiful Annapolis Valley.”

Kody Blois, Member of Parliament for Kings—Hants

Quick facts
-Two contracts for the Cormorant Mid-Life Upgrade and its simulator solution are valued at up to $1.24 billion (taxes included). This includes:

-$1.168 billion (taxes included) for the helicopter upgrades with Leonardo U.K. Ltd of Yeovil, United Kingdom; and
-$78 million (taxes included) for the training solution with CAE Inc. of Montreal, Quebec.
-Capability enhancements and equipment improvements will be implemented on the CH-149 fleet to improve service to Canadians and meet the operational availability requirements to support the national 24/7 SAR service.

-With this project the CH-149 fleet will be upgraded to the most advanced version of the helicopter, the AW101 615; similar to the model Norway has recently procured to conduct its rotary-wing SAR missions. Using this already established configuration accelerates the project considerably. Training solutions will also be acquired under the project to move aircrew training home to Canada.

-This project will reuse as many parts as possible from current CH-149 inventory such as transmissions, landing gears and control surfaces to reduce costs and ensure value for money.

-Delivery of these upgrades and training systems is expected to begin in 2026 and is anticipated to be fully operational in 2030.

-Through the application of Canada’s Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) Policy, both CAE Inc. and Leonardo U.K. Ltd will enter into high quality business activities within the world-class Canadian aerospace and defence industry to ensure that economic benefits equal to the value of the contracts are realized for Canadian industry.

-The contractors are working with several Canadian companies as part of their industrial commitments to Canada including in Key Industrial Capability areas such as defence systems integration, training and simulation, and aerospace systems and components.
Together with the sub-contract placed with IMP Aerospace and Defence, Leonardo shall be investing 100% of the CMLU Contract value with other Canadian partners and suppliers.


Leave a Reply