The Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) new CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopter has left for its first operational deployment on July 18 embarked onboard the Royal Canadian Navy’s Halifax-class frigate, HMCS Ville de Québec (FFH 332).
HMCS Ville de Québec departed Halifax to join NATO allies in Central and Eastern Europe as part of Operation Reassurance. The mission will mainly involve supporting NATO assurance and deterrence measures in the Baltic and Mediterranean. The ship is set to join Standing NATO Maritime Group 1, a naval force composed of ships from various allied countries, in the coming weeks, continuing in the role most recently filled by her sister-ship, HMCS St. John’s (FFH 340).
The accompanying Helicopter Air Detachment (HELAIRDET), based out of 423 Maritime Helicopter Squadron at 12 Wing Shearwater, Nova Scotia, is also embarked onboard the frigate. The milestone came after nearly three years of training, testing and evaluation of the RCAF’s new helicopter.
The state-of-the-art CH-148 Cyclone is replacing the CH-124 Sea King as Canada’s main ship-borne maritime helicopter, providing air support to the Royal Canadian Navy. This new fleet of aircraft is at the forefront of modern technology and one of the most capable maritime helicopters in the world. Well equipped, the CH-148 can excel in all the missions it is designed to undertake.
The Cyclone will serve a number of key roles and participate in a variety of activities. It will conduct Surface and Subsurface Surveillance and Control, utility and search and rescue missions. It will also provide tactical transport for national and international security efforts. This twin-engine helicopter is compatible with the latest high-tech naval frigates and includes several new safety features. Its aluminum and composite airframe is built with lightning-strike and high-intensity radio frequency pulse protection. The aircraft also incorporates flaw tolerance and engine burst containment.
The versatile Cyclone can conduct its operations day and night, and in most weather conditions. The CH-148 is approximately 10% faster than a Sea King.