Cracks in tails of RCAF Cyclone helicopters raise ‘serious concerns,’ says expert

Cracks within the tails of nineteen Royal Canadian Air Force Cyclone helicopters are a result in for worry, says an expert.

Michael Byers, a professor and defence policy analyst at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, stated the cracks could be indicative of so much larger problems with the aircraft.

“Each of those helicopters prices greater than $150 million, and the oldest helicopter within the fleet is solely five years old,” he said on Sunday. “So the reality that there may be this problem does lift some very serious issues as to the quality of the helicopters, the security of the helicopters.”

Handiest two of Canada’s 23 Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone helicopters are currently fit to fly. the remaining of the multibillion-dollar fleet is in want of restore.

On Nov. 26, cracks had been found in the tail of one of the helicopters at CFB Shearwater in Dartmouth, N.S. because of this, the rest of the fleet was once tested and such a lot of the helicopters were found to be compromised.

So Much RCAF Cyclone helicopters undergoing upkeep after cracks discovered

Analysis

The Cyclone chopper crash probe could lead on the army to a couple uncomfortable conclusions

On Saturday, The Department of Nationwide Defence (DND) mentioned just four of the Cyclones had been affected, however after additional questions from CBC Information, it was once found out there are if truth be told 19 with cracks. helicopters have been out of service due to different matters.

“I Am eager about the restricted news that we’ve got to this point,” Byers mentioned. “This seems to be a fleet wide drawback…. That’s obviously a topic in phrases of Canada’s functions. These are the helicopters that cross on our frigates and are an essential part of our maritime ability.”

Cracks in tails of RCAF Cyclone helicopters raise 'serious concerns,' says expert

Michael Byers is a professor and defence policy analyst on the College of British Columbia. (CBC)

within the early 2000s, the CH-148 Cyclone fashion was once selected to replace the RCAF’s five-decade-antique CH-124 Sea Kings. Regarded As a “developmental” helicopter, Canada has the one Cyclones in the world.

The procurement of the Cyclones has been closely criticized, with former Conservative defence minister Peter MacKay calling the Cyclone software the “worst procurement within the historical past of Canada.”

the original 2004 price range for the Cyclone’s procurement was $3.2 billion, however the quantity grew to $FIVE.7 billion by 2014.

according to the DND, “the associated fee for prime in-service give a boost to until 2038 is $5.8 billion.”

Canada remains to be looking forward to five Cyclones to be added.

“We Are spending upwards of $FIVE billion in this specific small fleet of helicopters, so we need to get it right. And to this point, it’s all going flawed,” Byers mentioned.

‘A bunch of lemons?’

Byers stated since the Cyclones are new, they need to now not be having such vital and popular problems.

“Have we purchased a host of lemons? is that this a improper aircraft on the way to require billions and billions of dollars of extra taxpayer money to keep protected and to keep operational?”

Byers said it’s an even signal that the aircraft were grounded, and the worst-case scenario can be if the air pressure tried to “clutter thru” to bypass additional complaint of the Cyclones.

Cracks in tails of RCAF Cyclone helicopters raise 'serious concerns,' says expert

Royal Canadian Air Drive pilots fly a Cyclone helicopter alongside the coast of Nova Scotia in 2018. (Jonathan Villeneuve/Radio-Canada)

“The Canadian military needs to get to the ground of this, it needs to fix the issue and it must be absolutely clear right through that process as a result of these are the lives of young men and younger women which can be positioned in peril each time those airplane fly,” he mentioned. 

Fraught history

this isn’t the primary time there were issues about the tail component of the helicopter.

In 2017, the Canadian Forces grounded its Cyclones after Sikorsky issued a global notice for safety assessments to be carried out.

Operators have been told to right away take a look at the tail rotor element of the S-92 aircraft. Cyclones are a militarized adaptation of that aircraft.

In 2009, an S-92 helicopter crashed off the coast of Newfoundland as a result of an oil pressure issue, killing 17.

Then in 2020, a Cyclone crashed in the waters off Greece because of a glitch with the autopilot serve as, killing six individuals of the Canadian army. 

Affect on operations

Seventeen of the Cyclone aircraft are based in Shearwater, N.S., and 6 are in Patricia Bay, B.C.

Some Of the fleet used to be imagined to participate in Operation LENTUS, to offer reduction after the mass flooding in British Columbia, but it surely used to be not possible as a result of the cracks. Older army aircraft, search-and-rescue helicopters and non-army plane had been used as an alternative.

“12 Wing Shearwater, which encompasses all the fleet, is prioritizing the order of repair to maximise return to serviceability for every aircraft,” a DND spokesperson mentioned in a statement to CBC Information.

the dep. says it hopes to have some of the helicopters back in the air within the following few days.

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