Further to this post,
Helicopters: “Auditor General on CH-148 and CH-47F acquisitions (plus lessons/risks for F-35?)”
Auditor General Sheila Fraser’s fire is not directed at either the Liberal or Conservative governments–though the politicians certainly weren’t exactly on the ball (and it’s a pity none of them no almost anything about things military). The CF in particular have a lot to answer for…
Plan to replace aging Sea Kings hits new snag
Ottawa’s plans to get new helicopters to replace the decades-old Sea Kings have hit another round of delays, less than a month after the Auditor-General criticized the purchase for other problems.
This will be the third time that Sikorsky has fallen short of its promises in the $5.7-billion contract to provide 28 Cyclone helicopters to the Canadian Forces.
According to the original contract, Sikorsky was supposed to start delivering fully compliant helicopters in late 2008. However, shortly before the deadline, the government and the company agreed to a major contract amendment under which fully compliant helicopters would start being delivered in 2012.
To allow the Canadian Forces to begin training its helicopter crews, the government agreed at the time to start taking the delivery of a few “interim” aircraft on Nov. 30 of this year. The helicopters would not meet all the requirements for military missions, particularly in terms of flight endurance, but would be adequate for testing and evaluation.
On June 30, Sikorsky signed another deal with the government in which it was agreed the actual interim helicopter to be delivered on Nov. 30 would fall short on a number of otherpoints as well. In particular, the government and Sikorsky agreed the interim helicopters would not include all mission system software and would lack the ability to exchange tactical data with its accompanying ship.
Officials and experts have told The Globe and Mail that the Nov. 30 deadline will not be met despite the recently watered-down requirements for the interim aircraft. Sources said that the biggest obstacle to the first delivery is related to the certification of the aircraft, which might have been delayed by mechanical problems.
Sikorsky declined to comment about the latest delay…
Although the planned F-35 purchase is a different kettle of, er, fish (the CH-148 was a non-existent paper aircraft when we agreed to buy it and so far Canada is the only customer), does anyone honestly expect our Lightning II program to proceed on time and budget–and with the mouth-watering industrial benefits our government never stops touting (more here, and here and here from the government itself still spinning that $12 billion dream)?
Update: A comment at Milnet.ca on the Cyclone:
Geez, for the interim aircraft, they’ve gone with lesser engines, no mission system software and no Link-11. Sounds like they’ve slapped a main and tail rotor onto a box containing a couple of radios.
Upperdate: If the government still thinks we will start taking delivery of F-35s in 2016, when it looks increasingly certain the USAF will not be getting theirs operational that year (same version as for our Air Force, the “A”), then they are assuredly in cloud cuckoo land–otherwise they are being severely economical with the truth:
US Air Force concerned about F-35 delivery delay
* Software, production issues could slow deliveries
* Air Force could upgrade F-16s to cover any fighter gap
The U.S. Air Force’s top general said on Tuesday he was concerned that software development and production issues could delay the service’s plan to start using new F-35 fighter jets in April 2016.
General Norton Schwartz said the Air Force variant of the Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) fighter jet was doing better in testing and development than the Navy and Marine Corps’ versions, but it was not clear whether software issues would delay the start of their use in combat.
Vice Admiral David Venlet, the defense official in charge of the F-35 program, briefed Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter and other senior defense officials at a three-hour meeting on Monday about the preliminary findings of his months-long comprehensive review of the program.
The Pentagon earlier this year restructured the $382 billion fighter program, adding 13 months to the development phase. Venlet’s review is pointing to a further possible delay of up to three years and added costs of up to $5 billion, sources familiar with the program said earlier this month…