With the retirement of the Sikorsky CH-124 in December of 2018, it’s replacement the Sikorsky CH-148 entered service. A little more then three months into it’s operation Canada has said it has proven it’s value at sea. The Royal Canadian Air Force Helicopter Detachment or HELAIRDET has been over seas in the Mediterranean supporting a NATO operation. This is was the first deployment of the CH-148. The squadron callsign Avalanche has been operating with the 423 Maritime Helicopter Squadron in Shearwater, Nova Scotia. The squadron has 11 technicians, and two flight crews, both consisting of two pilots and two operators. Maj Erik Weigelin (RCAF) pilot said in an interview "We are excited to have it in our hands. It’s the first time the CH-148 went ‘over the horizon’ and it’s fun.” The HELAIRDET was onboard the HMCS Ville de Quebec which departed Halifax on July 18, bound for the Mediterranean Sea where she served as part of Operation Reassurance. The ship also took part in the NATO Exercise Trident Juncture 2018.
(Maj Erik Weigelin)
“We have been operating the CH-148 for three months straight and it is the most consistent operation of the wing,” said Weigelin. “We fly almost daily and have done 300 hours of flying without any major issues. This consistency in maintenance and flying validates the maintenance program. And we did it all at sea.”
Under Operation Reassurance, the ship joined the Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2). The mission marked the first time the Cyclone has been operated with Canada’s coalition partners, giving its crew a chance to validate both tactics and training.
(CH-148 on the HMCS Ville de Quebec)
During Trident Juncture, the CH-148 proved its value. Operating with the invasion force during the exercise, the Cyclone provided anti-submarine warfare (ASW) coverage for the amphibious landing forces. It also went up against nuclear submarines from the French navy and Norwegian and German diesel/electric submarines.