HMCS Ville de Québec deploys with embarked Cyclone

HMCS Ville de Québec’s embarked Helicopter Air Detachment is the first crew to deploy with the RCAF’s new maritime helicopter, the CH-148 Cyclone. Photo by Mona Ghiz, MARLANT PA

HMCS Ville de Québec’s embarked Helicopter Air Detachment is the first crew to deploy with the RCAF’s new maritime helicopter, the CH-148 Cyclone. Photo by Mona Ghiz, MARLANT PA

Ryan Melanson, Trident Newspaper ~

A new milestone for Canadian maritime aviation was reached on July 18 when HMCS Ville de Québec set sail for Operation Reassurance along with an embarked CH-148 Cyclone helicopter and Helicopter Air Detachment.

The departure marks the first operational deployment for the new helicopter, and the result of more than three years of testing, evaluation, and training.

Col Sid Connor, Wing Commander at 12 Wing Shearwater, was on hand to speak with the air crew and support staff at the jetty before they left for the roughly six-month deployment, which will focus on supporting NATO assurance measures in Central and Eastern Europe.

“This is an amazing change for our air crews, and this is the start of the next chapter in maritime helicopter operations, working with the Navy wherever Canada chooses to send us. It’s a very exciting time,” Col Connor said.

The Cyclone, manufactured by Sikorsky, comes with numerous technological improvements compared to the CH-124 Sea King fleet, including flight speed, distance, sensors and communications. The Cyclone flies from a frigate with the same four-person air crew as the Sea King, but with many tasks now being automated, personnel are free to do more to support the ship.

“What’s changed is the types of tasks they’ll do, the range of tasks they’re able to do, and the amount of effectiveness the crews will get out of the equipment,” Col Connor added.

The mission will mainly involve supporting NATO assurance and deterrence measures in the Baltic and Mediterranean. The ship is set to join Standing NATO Maritime Group 1, a naval force composed of ships from various allied countries, in the coming weeks, continuing in the role most recently filled by HMCS St. John’s. Ville de Québec and its embarked Cyclone will conduct surface patrols and subsurface surveillance, while also participating in training exercises meant to keep crews at high readiness and ensure the task group is combat capable.

“We want to maintain our proficiency as much as we can, at the very highest level, in case the government of Canada calls on us to do something or react to some sort of real-world event,” said Cdr Scott Robinson, the ship’s Commanding Officer.

He thanked those who helped his team reach their current readiness level, including personnel from Sea Training (Atlantic) and FMF Cape Scott, as well as the crew themselves, for putting in long hours and overcoming obstacles as they prepared to deploy. 

“The ship and crew have come a long way since I took command almost a year ago. We’re ready to help, ready to lead, and ready to fight.”

Filed Under: Top Stories

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