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Canada completes special inspection of CH-148 helicopter fleet

A diver from HMCS Toronto (FFH 333) dives from a CH-148 helicopter during Exercise ‘Cutlass Fury 21' off the east coast of Nova Scotia on 15 September. The RCAF completed a special inspection of its CH-148 fleet and found that 19 of 23 aircraft had cracking in the tail section. (Canadian Armed Forces)

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) has completed a special inspection of its Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone maritime and anti-submarine warfare helicopter fleet after cracks were found in the tail section of one aircraft.

The Department of National Defence (DND) said on 8 December that this extensive inspection revealed cracking in 19 out of 23 aircraft in the fleet. Repairs are under way for several aircraft and the DND's engineering and technical experts are working closely with Sikorsky to return the fleet to serviceability. Repairs for tail cracks in one CH-148 have been completed.

Of the 23 aircraft in the RCAF's CH-148 fleet, two aircraft were found to not have cracking. Two other aircraft are in longer-term maintenance and will be inspected at a future date.

A unique repair scheme has been developed by Sikorsky for each of the 19 aircraft affected by this issue. The DND said the repairs involve removal and replacement of damaged parts and the use of reinforcements to provide additional strength. As individual unserviceable aircraft are repaired, they will be returned to service in a progressive manner.

The DND said that while the location of the cracks on the tail structure is unique to each aircraft, they are on the aircraft's frame and no cracking was found on the tail hinge or its components. The RCAF's CH-148 fleet is not grounded, nor is it under an operational pause.

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