|Concept illustration of CH-148|
|First flight||15 November 2008|
|Primary user||Canadian Forces|
|Developed from||Sikorsky S-92|
The Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone is a twin-engine, multi-role shipboard helicopter manufactured by the Sikorsky Aircraft for the Canadian Forces. A variant of the Sikorsky S-92, the CH-148 is designed for shipboard operations and is intended to replace the venerable CH-124 Sea King, which has been in operation since the early 1960s. The helicopter will be operated by the Canadian Forces Air Command, and will conduct anti-submarine warfare (ASW), surveillance, and search and rescue (SAR) missions from Canadian warships. It will also provide tactical transport for national and international security efforts.
The Canadian Forces' Maritime Helicopter Project (MHP) was commissioned during the 1980s and initially selected a variant of the AgustaWestland EH-101. After a change of government, the EH-101 contract was cancelled in 1993, resulting in a 10-year delay to the procurement of a replacement aircraft. The project took on increased importance in the early 2000s and another procurement competition was initiated.
In July 2004, the Canadian Forces (CF) selected the H-92 Superhawk a militarized variant of Sikorsky's civil S-92 as the winner of the MHP, and designated the aircraft as the CH-148 Cyclone. On 23 November 2004, Canada's Department of National Defence announced the award of a C$1.8 billion contract to Sikorsky to produce 28 helicopters, with the first aircraft scheduled to be delivered by January 2009.
The first flight of the first production CH-148, serial number 801 (FAA registration N4901C), took place in Florida on 15 November 2008. Additional complications in the programme have delayed the aircraft from entering service until 2010. Deliveries in November 2010 will allow testing and training to begin, but the Cyclone fleet will not be fully operational until 2013 according to Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC).
In February 2010, the first CH-148 has arrived at CFB Shearwater. Shearwater is the headquarters of the 12 wing, which currently operate the CH-124 Sea King and eventually the Cyclones in future. Faced with delays and restrictions from the government of United States with the law of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, the first 19 of the 28 CH-148 Cyclones will be delivered in an interim standard which does not meet the original contract from 2004. This decision will allow operational testing and training before the end of the year. The fleet will be complete in June 2012 and eventually all interim-standard helicopters are to be retrofitted in 2013.  
In March 2010, the first CH-148 is being installed on board the HMCS Montréal for an intensive open seas trials including landing and takeoff. The test also include a sea trial during a extreme condition with the new gearbox which was improved since the March 2009 accident. The CH-148 should fly for 170 minutes under extreme conditions and fly over 30 minutes with a dry gearbox. The endurance limits will be tested in near future in West Palm Beach.
The CH-148 has a metal and composite airframe. The four-bladed articulated composite main rotor blade is wider and has a longer radius than the S-70 Blackhawk. The tapered blade tip sweeps back and angles downward to reduce noise and increase lift. Tethered hover flight has recorded 138 kN (31,000 lbf) of lift generated, both in and out of hover effect.
A number of safety features such as flaw tolerance, bird strike capability and engine burst containment have been incorporated into the design. An active vibration system ensures comfortable flight and acoustic levels are well below certification requirements.
The CH-148 is equipped with devices to search and locate submarines during ASW, and is equipped with countermeasures to protect itself against missile strikes. The Integrated Mission System is being developed by General Dynamics Canada, as is the Sonobuoy Acoustic Processing System. The radar is a Telephonics APS-143B, the EO System a Flir Systems SAFIRE III, the sonar an L-3 HELRAS, and the ESM a Lockheed Martin AN/ALQ-210.
In addition to Sikorsky, General Dynamics Canada and L-3 MAS, Sikorsky's subcontractors, are responsible for in service maintenance. This includes the Maritime Helicopter Training Centre, with two Operational Mission Simulators. Other elements of in-service support include the Integrated Vehicle Health Monitoring System, spares and software support.
Data from Canadian Forces MHP page