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Better roles for the CH-149

LoboCanada

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Back to the subject, I'm sure there's some internal thought as to what happens in 10 yrs when the Cyclone is matured and discussions need to be made regarding a refit or new fleet altogether. Im sure the cost of refitting an orphan fleet won't be worth the effort, and the muddled procurement process for the fleet would give any future gov't an excuse to blame it on the many gov'ts that touched this file. The last CSC will be in the water in 2040s, so there will be a capability bottleneck with them being too old to work on a shiny new ship.

Is there a platform that can take a Cyclones existing systems and refit them onto? Strip them of the ASW equipment and use them as a medium-lift utility platform, Use them for SAR? Give the ASW parts to a Romeo? Use the Cyclones as a commando helicopter force for a pipe-dream LHD?
 

Colin Parkinson

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To be fair my experience is a bit dated, there might be different shifts going on. Most of the management is either not boat people or were big ship people and keeping enough big ships going to meet the needs of the icebreaking, buoy tending, science and Fisheries programs is what consumes them. When I was in SAR, it was always considered a secondary task by the big ships crew and officers, one that took them away from their fairly tight schedule. The crews were diligent in doing SAR when tasked, but very not in their mindset. The SAR cutters and Lifeboat stations saw maintaining navigation aids and other requests as secondary to their primary role of SAR. I would say the SAR assets were more willing to expand their roles, than the navaids people. Getting the bigger hovercraft also changed things as it can lift the smaller buoys and it does more nav aid work than when I was on the smaller SRN6's, where we could only change lights, bulbs and batteries.
In the 90's CCG management tried very hard to shut down Kitslano and Sea Island Hovercraft bases despite them being the two busiest SAR bases in Canada. It was very much a battle of funding and operational requirement creep. I was waist deep in the dive team fiasco where the senior management of the day lied to the Minister, who got caught out publicly in that lie by a well informed press. That same Minister was shocked that Rescue Specialists in the CCG were not paid extra for their extra work and risks, I made an extra $700 a year before taxes for being a diver doing capsized vessel entry. He started the process to get us compensated for that work.
Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of awesome people in the CCG and if given a clear mandate and funding, would get on with it, but they always be fighting the senior management to make sure standards are not whittled away to save money.

To the subject, CCG did operate one Sikorsky that was fitted with a lifting winch, an initiative also driven by the operational level who prior had to beg the Alaskan CG to send one of their helo's down to save Canadians and often could not.
 

LoboCanada

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CCG is probably suffering from a driven-in mindset from decades of scraping by with what they had just to do the job. If they had some slack in enough pers and vessels, things would be different.

Would have been smarter to have a larger fleet of CH-149s from the get-go doing ASW and Utility jobs. Would've been great during Afg in conjunction with Chinooks, lightened the load from the Griffon fleet too.
 

Loachman

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I can't see the Griffon's load having been lightened in Afghanistan as it was used for escort and CCA etcetera.
 

Colin Parkinson

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CCG is probably suffering from a driven-in mindset from decades of scraping by with what they had just to do the job. If they had some slack in enough pers and vessels, things would be different.

Would have been smarter to have a larger fleet of CH-149s from the get-go doing ASW and Utility jobs. Would've been great during Afg in conjunction with Chinooks, lightened the load from the Griffon fleet too.
Technically all the CCG aircraft and crew belong to Transport Canada, what can be done is that TC is given funds to purchase a few more helicopters, painting them gray and provide support to the AOP's/AOR's for domestic ops and humanitarian ops. That would allow the Cyclones to focus on primary tasks like ASW.
 

Good2Golf

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So now if you add up the CH-149 Cormorant acquisition and to-date maintenance and support and add the projected upgrade and future maintenance costs and then also add in the CH-148 Cyclone acquisition costs to design a paper aircraft and turn it into a unique (world-wide, Canada is the only operator of an H92) helicopter and project future maintenance and support costs, it makes an interesting comparison with the original EH-101 plan for a single main helicopter with two very similar variants that would benefit from a consolidated fleet for economies of scale in maintenance and support, with only specific mission-specific equipment (eg. dipping sonar for Navy and rescue hoist and FLIR for rescue helicopter). Perhaps a consolidated procurement would have also provided a more robust crew training package that might have mitigated the crashes and loss of lives from both CH149914 and CH148822?

But, “No new ‘elicopters! Zip! Zero! Nada!” ruled the day…
 

daftandbarmy

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So now if you add up the CH-149 Cormorant acquisition and to-date maintenance and support and add the projected upgrade and future maintenance costs and then also add in the CH-148 Cyclone acquisition costs to design a paper aircraft and turn it into a unique (world-wide, Canada is the only operator of an H92) helicopter and project future maintenance and support costs, it makes an interesting comparison with the original EH-101 plan for a single main helicopter with two very similar variants that would benefit from a consolidated fleet for economies of scale in maintenance and support, with only specific mission-specific equipment (eg. dipping sonar for Navy and rescue hoist and FLIR for rescue helicopter). Perhaps a consolidated procurement would have also provided a more robust crew training package that might have mitigated the crashes and loss of lives from both CH149914 and CH148822?

But, “No new ‘elicopters! Zip! Zero! Nada!” ruled the day…

I thought Cadillac was supposed to provide us with a helicopter? ;)
 

Good2Golf

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I thought Cadillac was supposed to provide us with a helicopter? ;)
Yeah, gotta hate it when politicians intentionally misuse labels to justify their decisions. A Chevy cam work, but if you force the Chevy to be used on a short budget, even a ‘Solid As A Rock’ Chevy will have issues.
 

CBH99

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So now if you add up the CH-149 Cormorant acquisition and to-date maintenance and support and add the projected upgrade and future maintenance costs and then also add in the CH-148 Cyclone acquisition costs to design a paper aircraft and turn it into a unique (world-wide, Canada is the only operator of an H92) helicopter and project future maintenance and support costs, it makes an interesting comparison with the original EH-101 plan for a single main helicopter with two very similar variants that would benefit from a consolidated fleet for economies of scale in maintenance and support, with only specific mission-specific equipment (eg. dipping sonar for Navy and rescue hoist and FLIR for rescue helicopter). Perhaps a consolidated procurement would have also provided a more robust crew training package that might have mitigated the crashes and loss of lives from both CH149914 and CH148822?

But, “No new ‘elicopters! Zip! Zero! Nada!” ruled the day…
So we spend $500 million in cancellation fees for a contract that’s already done.

$500 million paid to a company to literally produce nothing.

Only to turn around and start the process over again, and buy a very similar helicopter (at least to the uneducated observer.)


How is wasting that much taxpayer money not illegal again? 🤦🏼‍♂️
 

CBH99

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I've read through a few of the articles about this matter, but I'm having a hard time 'pin pointing' in my mind exactly what is driving the costs up past $1.3B. Could someone summarize what the issue is?

Is it just a service life extension, to keep them going until the early 2040's? Is it the modification of the 2 additional airframes? Is it fancy equipment being added as part of the life extension? Or are they just big, heavy duty, expensive birds that are expensive to overhaul? 🤷‍♂️
 

dapaterson

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My understanding: Yes to all. Two new airframes plus overhaul plus new sensors and capability integration, with a prime contractor who owns the IP, plus contingency funding in case additional issues arise like foreign exchange fluctuations, plus staff to run the project...
 

Good2Golf

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I've read through a few of the articles about this matter, but I'm having a hard time 'pin pointing' in my mind exactly what is driving the costs up past $1.3B. Could someone summarize what the issue is?

Is it just a service life extension, to keep them going until the early 2040's? Is it the modification of the 2 additional airframes? Is it fancy equipment being added as part of the life extension? Or are they just big, heavy duty, expensive birds that are expensive to overhaul? 🤷‍♂️
…yes.

Original project in 1996 CAD was $650M Vote 5 (capital acquisition) to buy 15 airframes and type-specific support equipment.

25 years later, modify 14 aircraft, add a flight simulator and additional systems (like EO/IR sensors, health usage management system, etc) significantly modify two additional VH-71 airframes to add ramps and turn them into CH-149A (or whatever the upgraded Cormorants will be designated) and inflation of value over those 25 years…then $1.3B doesn’t seem out of line….it’s just that politicians get antsy with ‘B’s, but not ‘M’s for military projects.
 

suffolkowner

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What a disaster the CH148/149 situation is. I thought this was a done deal! It sounds like Leonardo was unable to provide everything specified under the approved budget. So budget needs to be adjusted or request adjusted. How commited are whoever to delivering this project? Will we ever see 2 additional helicopters?
 

CBH99

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Will we ever see 2 additional helicopters?
The fact that we even have to ask that question is absurd, and speaks volumes as to how defense projects are handled. Two helicopters? Two...

The fact that we couldn't order a single additional airframe after losing one, is discouraging. Even if it happens to be slightly different than the ones in service, as long as the basics are there, we could have had the SAR capability a bit more robust even by one aircraft.


Is the Cormorant life-extension a disaster though? Pricey for sure, but it makes sense now that it was explained upthread. But other than the higher than expected cost, is there anything that is a disaster though?
 

suffolkowner

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The disaster began with PM Chretien when he cancelled the original project in 1993 for 28 Petrels/15 Chimos for $4.4 B and paying $500M(maybe just $197M) in cancellation fees. It actually began earlier when PM Campbell reduced the order from 35/15 for $5.8B.

It continued when the 15 scaled down CH-149 were purchased.

In 2004 the 28 CH-148 were purchased

So in my mind it's just one long never ending story, that is bound to get worse once we have to start paying for maintaining the Cyclone fleet as well
 

Loachman

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15 Chimos

Thank F that that name was not adopted.

for $4.4 B and paying $500M(maybe just $197M) in cancellation fees.

Plus the always-forgotten $800M that had already been spent on the programme.

And the 2000 (if memory serves me correctly) jobs that were instantaneously lost, and many more that never started, because of petty politics by somebody who campaigned on "Jobs, jobs, jobs".
 

suffolkowner

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Plus the always-forgotten $800M that had already been spent on the programme.
I honestly think we spend an order of magnitude more on the risk abatement part (project management) than the actual risk.

If it was $800M in 1993 I wonder what the running total would be up to today
 
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