Leonardo proposes AW101 conversion for Cormorant modernisation

Leonardo and IMP Aerospace & Defence (IMP) are teaming up to convert AW101-519 helicopters to support the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) CH-149 Cormorant Search and Rescue (SAR) modernisation programme, Leonardo announced 29 May.

“Team Cormorant,” a joint venture comprised of Leonardo Helicopters and IMP, is bidding for the Cormorant Mid-Life Upgrade (CMLU) and Conversion programme. The effort will stretch the legacy CH-149’s lives until 2040 and could cost between $500 million and $1.5 billion, according estimates from the Canadian government.

Team Cormorant’s bid would modify Canada’s inventory of AW101-519s, the model once slated to replace the US president’s helicopter, along with the RCAF’s current fleet of 14 Cormorants. The common fleet would include new avionics, advanced radars and sensors, vision enhancement and tracking systems, Leonardo states in a 29 May release.

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