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Leonardo, IMP revive team for Canadian helicopter program

Leonardo and IMP are modernizing Canada's fleet of search-and-rescue helicopters.

By Richard Tomkins
Leonardo, IMP revive team for Canadian helicopter program
Canada currently has a fleet of 14 Cormorant helicopters, which Leonardo and IMP have been contracted to modernize. Photo by Korona4Reel/Wikimedia

May 31 (UPI) -- Leonardo Helicopters and IMP Aerospace & Defence are re-establishing a special team for modernization of the Royal Canadian Air Force SAR helicopters, the companies announced Monday.

The team will also support the expansion of the EH101/CH-149 Cormorant search-and-rescue helicopter fleet through the conversion of AW101-519 helicopters.

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"Through Team Cormorant, Leonardo Helicopters will be able to deliver significant industrial technology benefits and a value proposition that will transfer new skills and knowledge to Canada, creating and sustaining more than 360 high-skilled jobs across the country," John Ponsonby, Leonardo Helicopters UK managing director, said in a press release.

"The Cormorant CMLU [Cormorant Mid-Life Upgrade] and Conversion Program will deliver Canada the most advanced and capable, state-of-the-art Search and Rescue helicopter available anywhere in the world today or the foreseeable future and the best value for Canada."

Team Cormorant is made up of Leonardo Helicopters, the original manufacturer of the EH101 and AW101 helicopters; IMP, the prime contractor for Cormorant in-service support; and other key Canadian companies.

Canada currently has a fleet of 14 Cormorant helicopters, with additional helicopters obtained by the Government of Canada when it acquired the assets of the U.S. VH-71 presidential helicopter program.

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Those additional helicopters are in storage at IMP Aerospace in Halifax.

The CMLU offers significant reductions in cost of ownership and will deliver the conversion without reducing the current search-and-rescue aircraft availability.

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