Canadian Military Finds Cracks in Most CH-148 Cyclone Helicopters 

The Canadian military has discovered cracks in the tail section of nearly all of its CH-148 Cyclone helicopters. During an urgent inspection, damage was found in 19 of 23 choppers in the fleet.

Initially, fissures were found in the tail of one of the aircraft during a routine inspection on November 6, which prompted authorities to inspect the entire fleet.

The military said that its engineering experts are working to repair the aircraft but that they have not been grounded or placed on operational pause.

Of the four helicopters that were not found to have cracks, two are undergoing long-term maintenance and will be inspected at a later date while the other two were unaffected.

The CH-148 Cyclone is designed for anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, maritime search and rescue, and overland operations. It is equipped with modern sensors and a multi-mission cabin.

Controversies, Delay, and Mishap

Michael Byers, a professor and defense policy analyst, raised concern over the safety and quality of the helicopters in an interview with CBC. “This appears to be a fleet-wide problem… That’s obviously an issue in terms of Canada’s capabilities. These are the helicopters that go on our frigates and are an essential part of our maritime ability,” he said.

In April 2020, a CH-148 plunged into the Ionian Sea near Greece killing six crew members. The accident was the biggest single-day loss for the Canadian armed forces since the Afghan war.

The Canadian government placed the order for 28 Cyclones in 2004 with a plan to be Full Mission Capable in 2012. However, delivery of the first CH-148 occurred in June 2015 due to developmental difficulties. The final delivery is expected in 2022 after a delay of 10 years.

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