Another first for the new CH148 Cyclone helicopter

CH148 Cyclone crews conduct an Operational Test and Evaluation with HMCS Montréal, the first ship to support a Helicopter Test and Evaluation Facility Detachment.

CH148 Cyclone crews conduct an Operational Test and Evaluation with HMCS Montréal, the first ship to support a Helicopter Test and Evaluation Facility Detachment.

Captain Peter Ryan, 12 Wing Shearwater ~

A CH148 Cyclone helicopter from 12 Wing Shearwater, N.S., recently conducted its first anti-submarine warfare (ASW) event with submarine HMCS Windsor off the coast of Nova Scotia.

The exercise was linked to an ongoing Operational Test and Evaluation being conducted by the Helicopter Test and Evaluation Facility (HOTEF) at 12 Wing Shearwater.
Anti-submarine warfare is a component of underwater warfare that employs surface warships, aircraft and other submarines to find, track and deter, damage or destroy enemy submarines.

This was the first time a Cyclone has engaged in such activity, representing an important milestone in the evolution of this new aircraft that provides wings for the fleet, and state-of-the-art air power for the Royal Canadian Air Force.

According to Major Erik Weigelin, a pilot with Helicopter Test and Evaluation Facility, the Cyclone’s sonobuoy processing system was tested to detect and track Windsor using passive sonobuoys.

“This system allows us to track submarines without making any active noise, thereby denying the submarine knowledge of the helicopter’s location or potentially even the fact that they are being tracked at all. Anti-submarine warfare by use of sonobuoys can be very challenging, but having Windsor as a target allowed the crews to hone our equipment and develop a solid baseline of performance for the tracking of real submarine targets,” said Maj Weigelin.

When Windsor was otherwise tasked, CH148 crews employed Expendable Mobile Anti-submarine Warfare Training Targets to simulate submarine movements and noise patterns, which allowed Helicopter Test and Evaluation Facility crews to further develop those tactical procedures that will be used by operational crews following CH148 release to service.

“Accurate and effective initial equipment settings, in combination with clear, concise and easily repeatable procedures, is key to maximizing the crews’ effectiveness in challenging tactical situations,” said Maj Weigelin. “These procedures need to be trained and practised to ensure peak operational capability of front-line crews once they are deployed with the Cyclone.”

During their week at sea, CH148 crews conducted 16 hours of embarked Operational Test and Evaluation with HMCS Montréal, the first ship to support a Helicopter Test and Evaluation Facility Detachment. The purpose of ongoing Operational Test and Evaluation is to continue to assess the aircraft’s combat effectiveness, ­develop tactical procedures, and validate doctrine before the new maritime helicopter can be turned over to front-line squadrons.

A CH148 will progress planned Operational Test and Evaluation by participating in combined warfare exercises in the Atlantic Ocean from late October to mid-November.

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