Naval Air: September 21, 2000


The Canadians have formally requested bids on 28 new naval helicopters. They will issue a separate contract for the airframe (in 2001) and mission systems (in 2002). The first helicopters will enter service in 2005 to replace the 38-year-old Sea Kings. Candidate aircraft include the Augusta/Westland EH101, the Eurocopter AS-532 Cougar, the Sikorsky S70 or S92 SeaHawk, and the NH90. The mission package is to have data handling, multifunction radar, electro-optical sensors, identification friend-or-foe, sonobouy processor, dipping sonar, self-protection jammers and flare launchers, various advanced communications equipment possibly include satellite telephones, and datalinks. The helicopter must carry a crew of four plus the mission payload, which might be a six-Marine boarding party, a stretcher patient with two attendants, or two Mk46 torpedoes. The aircraft must have an endurance of 2 hours and 50 minutes, plus a 30-minute fuel reserve.--Stephen V Cole


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