The Italian Aerospace Information Web
by Aeromedia - corso Giambone 46/18 - 10135 Torino (Italy)
First Cormorant for Canada is Flying
At the Agusta plants in Vergiate (Italy) the first EH Industries Cormorant was officially exhibited in flight, 31 May 2000. Canad was the launch customer for the SAR (Search and Rescue) version of EH 101 helicopter, having placed an order for a total of 15 Cormorants. They will be shore-based along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the country.
In 1993 Canada decided to purchase fifty EH 101s, a mix of 15 for SAR role, dubbed CH-149, and 35 for naval missions (CH-148). Subseqently the quantity of CH-149s was reduced to 28 and later the order was definitively cancelled, in order to organize a second competition for the fulfillment of the same requirement.
Canada is now expected to chose again EH 101, though in a less number, for sea patrol missions. If an order will be issued, important opportunities will materialize for the Canadian industry. A dedicated final assembly line could be established at the Bell Helicopter Textron Canada plants located in Montreal-Mirabel.
Cormorant used for the flight display, serial 149901, made its maiden flight 5 February and, after a stage in Vergiate to train crews and personnel, February next year it will be shipped to Canada. All the remaining aircraft will be handed over during the following 24 months.
For the occasion, also the second Cormorant destined to Canada was on display. This aircraft will begin the flight test phase in a short time; it already wears the colorful Canadian SAR livery.
European Helicopter Industries (EH Industries) consortium is formed by Agusta (Finmeccanica group) and by Westland (GKN group); the two companies are nearing the completion of their merging process.
Deliveries of EH 101s are actually under way to RAF, Royal Navy, Italian Navy and to civil customers. Other market opportunities comprise the Portugal Air Force requirement for eleven EH-101 size helicopters and the Nordic contest. This demanding competition was set up to chose a single-type multi-purpose rotary-wing platform able to satisfy the common requirements of Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.
In the pictures: the first EH Industries CH-149 Cormorant, Canadian Forces serial 149901, on display at Vergiate (Italy), 31 May 2000.
The Cormorant in the Canadian SAR livery
(Aeromedia, June 2000)