A Cougar Helicopters-operated Sikorsky S-92 medium-li search and rescue (SAR) helicopter made its CANSEC debut this year, flying in just ahead of the opening of the show. Delivered by Cougar chief pilot Paul Carter and SAR captain Pawel Bienkowski, accompanied by two flight engineers and a third engineer from Sikorsky, the S-92 completed a total eight-and-a-half- hour flight duration over three legs from the company’s headquarters in St John’s, Newfoundland, to be here.
Cougar Helicopters Inc (Booth 4000) has operated a fleet of S-92 platforms in both o shore passenger transportation and SAR roles since 1991, primarily in support of the oil and gas industry.
Cougar’s S-92 aircraft perform at an average air speed of 145 knots (166mph) and have the endurance to fly for more than four hours without refuelling. The platforms feature a night vision goggle (NVG) capable flight deck equipped with SAR-configured Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS) and high-definition forward-looking infrared (FLIR)/ thermal image camera technologies, a glass cockpit, an icing protection system, a twin hoist and a comprehensive medical suite. All platforms are configured with real-time position monitoring that is tracked through the company’s 24/7 dedicated type B dispatch department, along with flight data monitoring equipment that is analysed a er every flight.
Cougar Helicopters is a Transport Canada Approved Maintenance Organization (AMO) facility, and operates its SAR mission from a dedicated installation, with a proven year-round 24/7 response posture of being airborne within 20 minutes.
With more than 1.3 million fleet flight hours of service, the S-92 fleet averages 95 per cent availability. The S-92 helicopter performs a variety of missions, including o shore oil transportation, head of state and airline missions, and – perhaps the mission closest to Sikorsky’s founders’ vision for rotorcraft– search and rescue.
The military anti-submarine/ anti-surface warfare variant of the S-92 – designated CH-148 Cyclone – is replacing the CH-124 Sea King in Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) service, and is expected to achieve an initial operating capability later this year ahead of its deployment with the RCN’s Halifax-class frigates.
To date, the RCN has accepted 16 (of 28) CH-148 Cyclone aircraft, with a 17th now in the acceptance process. Of these, 10 are currently in operation at 12 Wing Shearwater conducting training and the final phase of initial operational test and evaluation.
the remaining aircraft are with Sikorsky for upgrade to the Block 2 configuration. Sikorsky will deliver the sixth Cyclone platform to the RCN in Block 2 (final production) configuration in June this year.
The Block 2 variants feature airframe and mission system enhancements designed to meet a wider range of environmental and threat conditions than the Block 1 variants previously delivered. By December, Sikorsky will deliver three more Block 2 aircraft – with all 28 CH-148 platforms scheduled to be delivered to the service by late 2021.
The Cyclone has approximately 50 per cent commonality with its commercial cousin, the S-92; Sikorsky had earlier positioned the S-92 as an alternative to the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF’s) Cormorant Mid-Life Upgrade programme, but last week it was announced that the latter would go ahead as planned.