VICTORIA, British Columbia --- The Canadian government will begin negotiations with Leonardo for a modernization program for search and rescue helicopters, undercutting a competing effort by Sikorsky.
Leonardo will be awarded a sole-source contract to upgrade 14 CH-149 Cormorant helicopters, which will cost the government more than $1 billion, Canada announced Thursday.
The aircraft have been operated by the Royal Canadian Air Force for search and rescue missions since the year 2000. AgustaWestland, a subsidiary of Leonardo, originally built the helicopters.
“The Cormorant Mid-Life Upgrade project will extend rotary-wing SAR services to at least 2040 by upgrading the existing CH-149 Cormorants and augmenting the fleet size,” Department of National Defence spokeswoman Ashley Lemire said.
Up to seven additional AW101 helos, of which the Cormorant is a variant, will be acquired, she added. (end of excerpt)
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