Leonardo and Team Cormorant welcome the Government of Canada’s continued commitment to modernize and expand the Cormorant Search and Rescue Helicopter fleet

23 August 2019 10:25

  • Cormorant Mid-Life Upgrade (CMLU) to enhance the capabilities and increase the size of the AW101/CH-149 “Cormorant” search and rescue fleet in Canada.
  • The announcement marks a major step forward ahead of program finalization 
  • Upgrades include: modernized engines, glass cockpit display system, navigation, communication and a digital automatic flight control system; improved sensor capability and synthetic training solutions and more.
  • Team Cormorant is comprised of Leonardo, IMP Aerospace and Defence, CAE, GE Canada, Collins Aerospace and many Canadian suppliers to deliver this improved capability to Canadians.

Leonardo welcomes the continued commitment made by Canada’s Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, to modernize and expand Canada’s primary rotary search and rescue helicopter fleet through the Cormorant Mid-Life Upgrade (CMLU) program. Yesterday’s announcement marks a major step forward ahead of program finalization. 

To date, the AW101/CH-149 “Cormorant” has enabled the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) search and rescue crews to successfully complete thousands of rescues, including several that received international recognition for their heroism. Leonardo is very proud that the Cormorant has been trusted to provide the capabilities to ensure these rescues were possible in any weather condition, anywhere in Canada or offshore and with this announcement, will continue to do so for decades to come. The Cormorant provides an unmatched capability in meeting Canada’s search and rescue requirements that allows the conduct of operations in areas not accessible by other helicopter types. 

The CMLU program will upgrade the Cormorants to the latest AW101-612 standard, currently being delivered to Norway, providing a low risk upgrade path with a modern, proven solution. These capability enhancements and equipment improvements will include state-of-the-art avionics, a new “glass cockpit”, the addition of the latest sensors, radar and search enhancement technology, more powerful digitally-controlled engines, wireless in-cabin communications, LED lighting, rescue hoist upgrades, synthetic training solutions and more, enabling the Cormorants to spend less time searching and more time rescuing stranded Canadians.

Leonardo, as "Team Cormorant” prime contractor, will work closely with IMP Aerospace and Defence to deliver the CMLU program in Canada, with the work undertaken by Canadians. CAE will deliver Canada’s first AW101 full motion simulator and other synthetic training capabilities. GE Canada will provide the new engines and Collins Aerospace will provide the new cockpit displays and avionics. Other Canadian suppliers will be engaged through a robust Industrial Technological Benefits (ITB) and Value Proposition program which will deliver the maximum value of the CMLU and fleet expansion to Canada. 

The proposed CMLU and fleet expansion program will be delivered with no interruption or reduction in rotary search and rescue capabilities and will return Canada’s primary search and rescue helicopter to service at CFB Trenton.

About Leonardo in Canada
Leonardo is a global high-tech company operating in the Aerospace, Defence and Security sectors. We are proud to be expanding our presence in Canada where we have been present for more than 50 years. Today you will find our air ambulance and Cormorant Search and Rescue helicopters saving Canadian lives every day, our radars and electronic systems helping to safely control air traffic and provide weather forecasts, aircraft from our joint venture ATR connecting communities across Canada and soon our parcel sorting technology helping to deliver millions of packages on time.