POLITICS

Chronology Of The Troubled Effort To Replace Canada's Navy, Rescue Helicopters

01/09/2014 04:41 EST | Updated 03/11/2014 05:59 EDT
OTTAWA - A timeline of major events in the protracted and ongoing effort to replace the Canadian military's shipborne and search-and-rescue helicopters:

November 1963: A CH-124 Sea King helicopter makes its first operational landing on a Canadian warship.

June 1986: Treasury Board approves the start of a of project to replace the Sea Kings.

October 1992: The Conservative government signs contracts with E.H. Industries Ltd. and Paramax Canada for the delivery of 50 EH-101 helicopters to replace Sea Kings and Labrador rescue helicopters.

November 1993: The new Liberal government announces the cancellation of the helicopter contracts and will eventually pay nearly $500 million in compensation for work already done.

October 1994: A report from a special joint committee of the Senate and the House of Commons on defence policy recommends quick action on the acquisition of new helicopters.

December 1994: A white paper on defence policy indicates the government will go ahead with the helicopter replacement project.

November 1995: The Liberal government announces its intention to proceed with the acquisition of new search-and-rescue helicopters.

March 1996: The Liberal government says the shipborne helicopter project will be deferred for a year.

November 1996: A request for proposals from aircraft manufacturers for the rescue helicopter project is issued.

January 1998: National Defence and Public Works say E.H. Industries has been chosen to supply 15 Ch-149 Cormorants to replace the Labrador helicopters. The aircraft begin operations in 2002.

November 2004: The Liberal government says it will award a $5-billion purchase and 20-year in-service support contract to Sikorsky for 28 CH-148 Cyclone helicopters, as Sea King replacements, with deliveries scheduled to start in November 2008.

December 2008: The Conservative government negotiates first contract extension for delivery of Cyclones, costing taxpayers an additional $117 million.

May 2010: Sikorsky announces an engine upgrade for the Cyclone, pushing deliveries back to 2012; later complications further extend that date to 2015.

October 2010: The federal auditor general harshly criticizes the Cyclone helicopter project, noting delays and projected cost overruns totalling $700 million.

November 2010: Sikorsky faces fines for late delivery totalling $88 million, but government is unclear about how it will collect the fines.

July 2013: Public Works orders an independent analysis into whether Sikorsky can fulfill its contract.

September 2013: Spokeswoman for Public Works Minister Diane Finley confirms Canadian government is considering "other options" for the Sea King replacement. Senior officials soon meet with rival aircraft makers.

January 2014: The Conservative government announces it is sticking with the Cyclone and renegotiates delivery schedule for a third time. The Sea King fleet is to begin retiring in 2015.

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