– CF Maritime Helicopter – Sikorsky
The New Shipboard Cyclone – a Windy Outcome?
The Maritime Helicopter Project to replace the Sea King dragged out for a quarter century.
Finally, in late 2003 there was a call for tenders. A winner was announced in July of 2004. The new Maritime
Heli- copter would be Sikorsky's H-92 Superhawk which will
be the CH-148 Cyclone in CF service. A $3.2B contract includes airframes, integrated systems
and the ubiquitous 20-year parts/training package – the latter a $1.8B deal covering construction and operation
of the Maritime Helicopter Training Centre at CFB
Deciding factors in choosing the H-92 would likely be purchase price, operating costs, and
cabin size.  It was a somewhat risky choice. Stability problems during the development of the H-92
 required a 40cm fuselage stretch to shift the aircraft's centre of gravity forward. This
made the aircraft larger  and heavier – but it also had the side benefits of increasing cabin
size and allowing a bigger access door.
IMH: Interminable Maritime Helicopters?
True to the Maritime Helicopter Project, the Cyclone is running late. Delivery
dates slid and costs jumped by $500 M. Due in early 2008, the prototype
CH-148 did not fly until Nov 2008. Peter MacKay insisted that first delivery for CH-148s
would be mid-2010. Within six months, Canada had waived $89M in late fees and allowed Sikorsky two years to deliver a
'compliant' CH-148 Cyclone. It then came out that
cost would be higher still and the initial deliveries of 'Interim Maritime Helicopters'
would be missing mission kit. The MND promised these IMH for summer 2011 but they didn't
appeared either.  Another firm delivery date of June 2012 has also now come and gone.
Meanwhile the cost of maintaining Sea Kings escalates.
 Cabin size was a major issue for many MHP contenders. Being twin-engined, H-92s would be lighter and more
fuel-efficient (in theory) than the three-engined CH-149 SAR helicopters. Reliability problems with the CF
Cormorant fleet at the time were also a deciding factor.
 Prototype H-92s experience a nose pitch-up at 60 knots (110 km/h). To correct the problem, Sikorsky redesigned
the tail. Horizontal tail surfaces were repositioned from port to starboard and from a high-mounted to a low-mounted
position (the earlier configuration is shown in the centre-left image, above). Size of the vertical fin was also
reduced and the tail rotor position was lowered (resulting in lower weight).
 General Electric's 3000shp-class CT7-8C began testing in 2004. The CT7-8C uses a three-stage turbine (rather
than two-stage as in the earlier CT7s. Upgraded materials are used as well as an electronic control system.
Civilian certification for the CT7-8C is expected in 2007.
 Sikorsky paid particular attention to 'crashworthiness' (keeping the fuel tanks in the large side
sponsons) and to bird strike protection.
 "The first interim maritime helicopter [to arrive] at 12 Wing Shearwater, Nova
Scotia, on May 13, 2011" was actually a commercial S-92 type modified by Sikorsky as
a flying Cyclone mockup to aid CFB Shearwater Maritime Helicopter Training Centre
with ground-handling. 'Delivery' is a term that needs to be defined. Three IMH (MH 805,
'807, and '808 are at Shearwater but not officially handed over to the
— top left Stephen Priestley (mod), centre left: Flug
Revue, all others: UT-Sikorsky (via: Zak and Chung except bottom right)