HELI-EXPO: Sikorsky “hopeful” on resolution of Canadian helo contract impasse

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Sikorsky chief executive Mick Mauer says he believes that a compromise remains likely on deadlocked negotiations over a contract to supply 28 maritime patrol helicopters (MHP) to the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Although some Canadian lawmakers have called for a re-competition of the 2004 award to Sikorsky, Mauer says is still "hopeful that we're going to resolve" the dispute.

"I think we're going to work our way through this," Maurer says. "We've one this before."

At the same time, Mauer acknowledges that it was Sikorsky's problems developing the software for the CH-148 Cyclone fleet that led to the delays and the need to re-compete the contract.

"The issue we have in terms of the programme is that our software is behind on the mission system," he explains. "The contract doesn't allow us to deliver the aircraft that kind of disconnect."

The current negotiations are aimed at creating a contractual means for Sikorsky to deliver the helicopters with an initial software load for the mission systems, then phase in the full range of capabilities over a period of time.

"I expect some time soon we'll start to see maybe a breakthrough to get those two aligned," he says.

So far, Sikorsky already has started production on 26 of the purchased 28 CH-148s, which are modified versions of the S-92 heavylift helicopter.